Labour accuses Power Minister of working for foreign interest
•Says sacked MD strengthened transmission network nationwide
•Workers’protest expected — Power Ministry
By Victor Young, Chris Ochayi & Shina Abubakar
Protests yesterday rocked Abuja and Osogbo, the Osun State capital, over the sack of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Usman Gur Mohammed, as workers demanded his immediate reinstatement.
This came as Organised Labour in the power sector also demanded the resignation of the Minister of Power, Rngr. Mamman Saleh, over the sack, accusing him of working for foreign interest to the detriment of Nigerians.
The protesting workers, who crippled operations at TCN headquarters in Abuja and Osogbo, argued that Mohammed’s passion for the development and the growth of the sector was second to none in the recent times.
In Abuja, protesting members of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, and the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, threatened to shut the power sector, if Mohammed was not reinstated. It would be recalled that the Minister of Power, Engr. Mamman Saleh, Tuesday night announced the replacement of the Managing Director of TCN Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed with Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz.
Engr. Abdulaziz, until his appointment as the Managing Director of TCN in acting capacity, was the Regional Transmission Manager (RTM), Abuja Region of TCN.
The workers yesterday abandoned their duty posts and vowed not to return to work until the MD/CEO was reinstated.
In a statement by the SSAEAC branch of TCN, workers rejected the sack and insisted that his excellent performance was there for everyone to see, contending that those who sacked him had other agenda. In the statement signed by branch President and Secretary, Dairo Abidemi and Yerima Hassan, respectively, said “Mohammed came to TCN when the transmission sector was adjudged to be the weakest link in the power chain.
The union noted that with determination and focus, Mohammed was able to turn TCN around within a short period.
”It is now the strongest link in the electricity power chain. He has promoted the local content in-house engineers to a level of envy by the hawks of contractors that had always ripped the TCN dry at the expense of the hard working TCN staff.
”He was able to promote industrial relationship between the in-house unions (SSAEAC/NUEE) to enhance industrial harmony and improved productivity. Staff welfare has improved as workers are happy doing their jobs. We reject his sack and demand his immediate reinstatement for the growth, development and industrial peace,” the statement read.
But shortly after the protest, the national body of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, came up with statement supporting the sacking of the Managing Director, TCN, Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed. The body, according to Umar A. Dubagari its General Secretary, in the statement issued in Abuja, described the era of Mr. Mohammed at the helms of affairs of the company as period of terror and gangsterism.
The statement read: “The Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, herebysend a heartfelt appreciation to President/Commander-in-Chief and the Minister of Power for liberating the hub of power sectors (TCN) from the stranglehold of a despot by relieving the former MD of his misfit position.
“We foresaw this when we exposed his background and character which he covered up with falsified CV that misled the government. We are glad that the truth has prevailed with the announcement of the removal of recalcitrant and insubordinate MD TCN, which is a welcome relief to TCN staff and power sector operators.
“We highlight his impunity as follows: Abandonment of TCN structure for cronism and nepotism, manipulation of procurement processes with attendant financial fleecing of TCN, clearing and diversion of over 700 Containers from the ports without documentation of contents.
“Loss of 20 power transformers and substations worth over N30B in just over three years, a humongous loss to Nigeria, connivance with compromised staff to fleece TCN of assets and resources, destruction of unionism through sponsorship of internal crises.”
In Osogbo regional station, the protesting, workers locked the two entrances into the facilities and barricaded the road with their vehicles.
The workers who were at the entrance in their numbers, said their being at the gate was to prevent anyone from accessing the facility.
State Chairperson of NUEE , Alhaja Kudrat Adekunle, who spoke on behalf of the workers, said members were dissatisfied with the removal of the TCN MD. She said: “We are not satisfied with the way our Managing Director, Usman Mohammed, was sacked by the Minister of Power and his subsequent replacement with Engineer Abdulaziz, that is why union members locked the facility in protest.”
The protesting workers told Vanguard that the protest was the first phase, threatening that if government refused to reinstate Mohammed, they might embark on full blown strike.
Meanwhile, Labour in a statement through the national leadership of NUEE, warned that should the sack of TCN MD\CEO stand, its negative fallouts would be too grave for the country.
NUEE in the statement by its General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, lamented that the recent gains were about to be lost because of the Minister of Power’s removal of the MD/CEO of TCN who had made the gains possible.no
The statement read: “The Minister’s action which may have taken the power sector 30 years backward may not be unconnected with the impending Siemens contract racketeering which the union has raised alarm to Nigerians, but the Minister is bent on ripping-off the people. ”The question Nigerians should ask the Minister of Power is why the haste to remove the MD/CEO of TCN? We want to know if any MD is removed based on incompetence or corruption and not at the wimps and caprices of any Minister