By Alfred Saiki and Raphael Tyoikyaa
The planned picketing of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED) by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Plateau State today, 8th February, 2016, over the increment of electricity tariff, was in full effect as the Head office of JED was shut down by NLC/TUC with Labour saying no consumer should pay any electricity bill till further notice. You would recall that Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had increased electricity tariff by 45%, which prompted the National leadership of the NLC to direct all state chapters to picket distribution offices nationwide.
|COMRADE BANCHIR LEADING THE NLC, TUC |
While addressing members of NLC,TUC and CSO’s present, the Chairman NLC Plateau state chapter, Comrade Jibrin Banchir, stated that, Labour leaders were currently meeting in Abuja and resolutions would be made known as soon as possible.
“He said Labour has given three conditions to be met by the DISCOS. They include, “Nobody should pay the estimated or current bill. No matter what the new price would be, that would be subject to actual consumption and you must have a meter. There must be steady power supply because they have fixed charges”, Banchir stated.
“We are here today to simply register our concern at this stage that certain things are wrong in Nigeria during this change mantra. We are going to occupy this place for today and across the country, and it is to caution DISCOS that they have taken a negative step towards Nigerians. And beyond this stage, if they don’t retrace their steps certainly we would embark on a mass action, which is to further close them down.
“Closing them would mean even us will lose power. We would go to any extent to shut down the national grid. But we feel we should tell ourselves as Nigerians that we should be guided by fairness and equity. It was agreed during privatization that no DISCO would review its price within the first 18 months without a consultative meeting.
“Even the act provided that you cannot overnight increase or even serve somebody were you don’t have a meter to bill him”. Banchir further stated.
Comrade Steve Aluko who spoke on behalf of Civil Society Organizations CSO’s, reiterated the decision of CSO’s to join in the struggle because Nigerians voted for change and Nigerians voted against corruption and corruption at all levels must be challenged. “If the fight of corruption in Nigeria must be taken serious, the energy sector must be one critical sector that corruption in it must be fought to a standstill”. “If we are talking about integrity, the integrity of those in governance and those that would be acting on their behalf must not be called to question because what we are saying is that we are running away from a possible bloody revolution in Nigeria. If you do not allow people to have a say in what they are doing, then people may be left with no other option but to take the other alternative that we did not bargain for as Nigerians”, Aluko stated
The picketing action will only last for one day.