Protesting workers shut down Energy Commission of Nigeria

Protesting workers lifting placards with various inscriptions
Protesting workers lifting placards with various inscriptions

The staff union of the Energy Commission of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday shut down activities at the commission’s headquarters as the members began a three-day warning strike over alleged administrative anomalies.

The chairman of the staff union, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Promise Chukwu, accused the management of the commission of several ”labour maltreatment.”

“People don’t get promotion when due, the staff are not trained, no working materials in the office. We don’t even have simple anti-virus software,” Mr. Chukwu said.

He said the commission was under-performing because the Director General, E.J Bala ”does not understand its core mandate.”

“The director had described the commission as a research institute and this is at variance with the mandate of ECN which is strategic planning and coordination of policies on energy.

“This mandate has eluded the commission because the director general does not understand the status and the mandate.

“There is no condition of service, no schedule of work, no internal structures and mechanism in the commission where workers report directly under a director.”

Mr. Chukwu also accused the management of irregular payment of N11 million through the project account of the commission to the account of the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, ”who is not a staff of the commission.”

The union demanded, among others, the sack of the director general, investigation into the irregular transfer of N11 million into the account of the minister and a mandatory constitution of a committee to draw career progression training.

“This is just a warning strike and if nothing is done after this three days, we (will) proceed on indefinite strike until something is done,” Mr. Chukwu said.

Abubakar Shehu, working with energy information system of the commission, said his promotion was due since January but was yet to be effected.

“Management does not provide training arrangement. There is a backlog of promotion so if our demands are not met, there will be total shutdown of the commission,” Mr. Shehu said.

A senior official of the commission, who identified himself as Malam Umar, said the organisation would respond at the appropriate time.

Repeated calls to the mobile line of the director general were not answered. He is also yet to respond to a text message seeking clarification.

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