Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Labour, Air Force On Warpath Over Alleged Brutalisation of PHCN Staff

ORGANISED labour has threatened to shut down electricity supply in the South-West zone and all Nigeria Air force formations across the country by April 2, over alleged brutality and physical torture of workers of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, at the Ibadan Zone by men of Nigeria Air Force.

Labour issued the ultimatum under the umbrella of National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE.

Already, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Engr. B. Oyesiku, had petitioned the Commandant of Nigeria Air Force, Ipetu-Ijesa, and copied the Director of Department of State Security, DSS, and Secretary to Osun State Government, over the alleged brutalisation of PHCN workers.

NUEE, in a statement by its General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, said members were at work, performing their legitimate duties on March 9, when officers of the Air Force allegedly barged in and unleashed violence on them.

The union claimed that the act was carried out at different work locations at Ipetu-Ijesha and Ilesa town on the same day by the officers attached to Nigeria Air Force, Ipetu- Ijesha, Osun State, allegedly on the orders of their boss.

Statement

The statement read in part: "As we condemn this callous and dastardly act in very strong terms, we emphasise that if by April 2, the Air Force refuses to accept responsibility and apologise for their action, our men will withdraw their services in the South-West Zone and all Air Force formations in the country.

"This shall precede a nationwide outage in solidarity of the affected victims, if after 14 days this issue is not peacefully resolved. We cannot continue to suffer this level of violence in the hand of the military when we are in a democratic state.

"By this piece all members of the union are expected to show solidarity.

Petition

Giving details of the attack in the petition, Oyesiku said: "It should be put on record to you that your men, led by one officer (names withheld) on March 9, 2013 around 11:15am, went to our Ipetu Ijesa Service Centre to arrest our staff, Mr. W. Agboola.

"Thereafter, another officer (name withheld) came down to Ilesa to pick our Otokiti, the Distribution Substation Operator, DSO, on duty at Imo injection substation; proceeded to Ilesa Injection Substation where they beat up all the staff they found in the control room to the extent that the DSO on duty, Mr. Rafiu Jolayemi was bleeding.

"As if the assaults were not enough, your men went round all our offices until they got to the 132/33KV Ilesa transmission substation, which gives power supply to Ijesa Land complex from the national Grid.

"The system operator on duty there, one Mr. Abiona was also seriously beaten with the sword they came along with. He was made to lie down on the bare floor and kicked several times with their boots to the extent that he too started to bleed.

"The above scenario has precipitated perpetual darkness in Ipetu-Ijesa since that fateful day till now since our staff's safety cannot be guaranteed in the course of performing their duty, especially patrolling the remaining segment of the feeder which takes care of the environs apart from you place."

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