Vanguard (Lagos)

3 April 2012

Nigeria: Union Challenges BPE On PHCN Ghost Workers

ORGANISED Labour has described the leadership of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, as a serial liar that must not be trusted by any right thinking Nigerian.

Speaking against the backdrop of statement credited to BPE that no less than 17,000 ghost workers have been uncovered in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, and the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, Electricity sector, challenged BPE to publish the names of purported ghost workers.

Leaders of NUEE, SSAEAC and NUP did not stop at daring BPE to publish the names of the so-called ghost workers in PHCN, but to also to immediately forward the names of the supposed ghost workers to the appropriate agencies for arrest and prosecution.

President of SSAEAC, Comrade Bede Opara whom spoke on behalf of other leaders, linked the purported ghost workers to the biometric verification exercise conducted by BPE and argued that not even all the regular employees that participated in the exercise were captured and cleared by the consultant saddled with the responsibility of verifying all employees in the power sector.

Opara expressed disgust with the whole process and noted that the affected staff had not been paid their monthly salaries and allowances since the controversial verification exercise because they were been referred as ghost workers.

According to him, "Several of such staff which included chief executive officers, general managers, national officers of the in-house union etc who are visible in their various work locations during the verification exercise were not captured and have been denied their monthly emoluments for over three months.

"This is a high level of insensitivity that an employer/government could deny its workers their legitimate remunerations and in-turn referred them as ghost workers. This is just an attempt to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Definitely it would be an exercise in futility," he said.

Corroborating Opara, General Secretary of SSAEAC, Mr. Abiodun Ogunsegha, a Lawyer, alleged that many names were imported by the ministry of power during the verification exercise.

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