|Comrd Jibrin Banchir NLC Chairman|
By: Valentine Adese, Alfred Saiki and Priscilla Tapshak
Workers in Plateau State would on Monday, 8th February, 2016, lead electricity consumers to shutdown the Headquarters of Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED) office and all other related offices.
In an exclusive interview with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Chairman Plateau State chapter, Comrade Jibrin Banchir, today, the chairman disclosed that the NLC and TUC have officially written the security outfits in the state with respect to the protest and requesting for protection.
He said the protest is broader owing to the fact that all consumers of electricity would be part of the picketing of the office.
He therefore urges all civil society organizations, artisans, landlords association, traders, and other electricity consumers to join Nigerian workers at the JED head office at Rwang Pam Street, close to REALITY Newspapers’ office Jos, to picket the place and reject the new power tariff.
Read the response to the interview questions below:
“We shall shut down Jos Electricity Distribution Company by Monday in compliance with the directives of Congress and TUC. We have held a meeting and the necessary organs of Congress and TUC are fully in motion now and ready for action on Monday.
“We have already sent a communiqué and had meetings with the civil society groups in Plateau State. This is going to be a coalition of NLC, TUC, Civil Society groups and Consumers. And you know almost everybody is a consumer of electricity in the country and we are all directly affected by this increase in tariff.
“So these are the groups we are mobilizing towards this action on Monday. Our target here in Plateau state, is the Headquarters of the distribution company here in Plateau state. And that is where you will see us on Monday God willing.
“This protest, in the first instance, is only for one day, to put the DISCOS on their toes. Congress has written the Federal Government letters, which I know! This action is to let the DISCOS know how the people think of their decision. This decision is illegal, unlawful, unilateral and unconstitutional as you know. It did not even follow the laid down procedures in our laws.
“There is even a suggestion and agreement to that effect that all DISCOS should not increase their tariff now until after the 18months moratorium period allowed. You can see that we are still within the 18 months. So, they don’t even have that right to increase the tariff.
“More also, if you look at the harsh economy now, the effect is going to be negative almost on everybody. This has chain effects even to the micro economic activities.
“45% increment of the tariff as an accountant means a lot. It will increase the entire prices of goods and services from the small welder to the “AKara” vendor in the streets who uses electricity. This will usher hardship! Electricity is a major source of livelihood. That’s why we don’t want to treat the issue with levity.
“As the DISCOS have approached the security outfits, so have we also officially written the Commissioners of Police and other security organs for protection and we believe they will do just that. We deserve it as a right to protest against any policy of government that affects us negatively.
“We have assured the security outfits that all our actions are towards sending a simple message that we are saying ‘NO’ to this high tariff! What we are doing is picketing. We have done it before here.
“We know that for that single day, the DISCOS will lose a lot because, they will not operate their usual business administratively but, not Nigerians, as power will be there for them.
‘We are appealing and calling on all comrades across the state to please join us on Monday. “An injury to one is an injury to all”. This is something we cannot allow go like that. With the change government in place, there should be a better place for Nigerians to live. We must condemn this. If we leave it, surely it will bounce back on us all.”