The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has asked the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to apologise to Nigerians after he was quoted as at the Sixth Presidential Business Forum held in Abuja that a hike in electricity tariff was inevitable.
Reacting to the vice president’s comment, the general secretary of NUEE, Mr. Joe Ajaero, said at the union’s national executive council meeting held in Lagos that Nigerians deserve to know whether the federal government was speaking for private sector or Nigerians.
“Vice President Osinbajo should apologise to Nigerians for seeking to punish them with higher tariff. Nigerians should ask Osinbajo whether he is the spokesperson of the investors in the power sector. Is he an investor himself? I think that it is now becoming clear that some people in government have their hands in distribution companies (DISCOs). For how long will Nigerians continue to suffer in the name of privatization? Nigerians are suffering and the power situation is not getting better. I’m surprised that this is not the policy of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yet they are following it up 100 per cent. This shows you that there is something fishy,” he said.
Ajaero contended that the plan to further increase electricity tariff was obviously the federal government’s attempt to align with the private operators in the power sector to inflict more pains on Nigerians.
He said it is only in Nigeria that electricity consumers are made to pay higher tariffs even when power is not being supplied to homes, offices and factories.
Going by the abysmal performance of DisCos and the other operators since the privatisation in 2013, Ajaero said there was no justification for further tariff hike, and wondered whether the vice president was seeking to make more money for himself and the investors.
“I challenge the investors to say that they are no more interested; I am telling you that we will appoint people from NUEE who will run it effectively and efficiently. Government should not listen to that level of ‘shakara.’
“They are making money and don’t want to declare profit to government. For four years, these private companies have not paid any dividend to the government, yet the government has paid them one trillion naira – what kind of business is that? So I think there is need for public hearing for Nigerians to come and speak on what is happening in the power sector,” said Ajaero.