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Aggrieved Electricity Workers Protest Against Anti-Labour Policies In South- East

By Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

ENUGU, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Aggrieved workers of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) on Wednesday paralyzed socio-economic activities in the city and other south- east States, as they took to the streets over alleged anti-labour policies and insensitivity to staff welfare by authorities of the establishment.

AFRICAN EXAMINER Correspondent who monitored the demonstration in parts of Enugu metropolis reports that the exercise took place simultaneously in other four capitals, including Awka, Umuahia, Abakaliki and Owerri that make up the Southeast
geo-political zone of Nigeria.

It was also gathered that no fewer than three people have been arrested by the police in the commercial city of Nnewi in Anambra State over the protest.

AFRICAN EXAMINER observed that the protesters marched through major streets of Enugu metropolis before moving to the EEDC headquarters located along Okpara Avenue, in the state capital.

Although, they were prevented from entry into the premises of the company by security agents.

A detachment of Police, DSS and army were seen manning the main entrance of the EEDC as at the time of the demonstration apparently to forestall the protest from escalating, a situation that might lead to destruction of the company’s equipment by hoodlums.

Some of the placards carried by the protesters read: “Emeka Offor give EEDC workers freedom”; “EEDC stop sacking workers arbitrary”; “EEDC why rejecting Loans from Transmission Companies” among others.

While addressing newsmen, Spokesman of the protesters, Comrade Cypril Ndubuisi, wondered why the management of the EEDC had continued to sack workers of the company arbitrarily even when it had rejected loan from transmission companies to improve the fortunes of the establishment.

Ndubuisi said, “Enough is enough they do not want to dialogue with labour leaders because they know that what they are doing is wrong.

“We have declared three days for peaceful demonstration so that the world will know the pains we are passing through in the hands of EEDC management”.

“What they called privatization is scam.

“The government used it as political patronage; they are not prepared to invest in the power sector.

“They just want to invest where they did not sow”, Ndubuisi declared.

The protest according to the unionist is staged in all the five states of the Southeast region, after the 14-day ultimatum and seven days given to EEDC expired. The EEDC he added could not follow the procedure issued to them by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“The NUEE in conjunction with NLC and Civil Societies group organized this protest today to stop the abnormal behavior of the EEDC”. the spokesman stated.

Efforts to speak with the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the EEDC, Emeka Eze, failed as he was said to have gone out of Enugu for an official engagement.

However, the Human Resources Manager HRM, Dr. Nwokolo, asked the security operatives not to allow the angry workers gain entrance into the EEDC compound during the protest.

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