Gentlemen of the Press: Welcome to this Press Conference, which is called to respond to some of the antics of some government officials on the impasse in negotiations between the workers of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and the Federal Government.
Since the last meeting with government on the issue on Wednesday August 15, 2012, we are surprised at the negative utterances of the Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, and his consultants.
We recall that at the meeting, anchored by the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, it was agreed that the July salary owed PHCN workers should be paid, and that government will take immediate steps to remove the presence of soldiers in PHCN offices nationwide.
The Minister of Labour had also undertaken to advise his Power Ministry counterpart to desist from grandstanding that would affect the process of genuine resolution of the PHCN crisis.
We are however, taken aback, and even scandalized at the various orchestrated propaganda and misinformation peddled by the Minister of Power. It is highly irresponsible for the Minister to incite the public against workers demanding for their legitimate right with a view to criminalizing them to justify his crude militarization of the workplace.
It will be anomalous and unacceptable for the Labour Movement to sit back and allow workers to be physically intimidated at gun point into signing off their legitimate entitlements. We condemn the thoughtless and unhelpful utterances and underhand tactics employed by Professor Barth Nnaji.
It is also becoming apparent that the Minister of Labour, who anchored the meeting of August 15, 2012, does not have the capacity to drive a process that would require the curtailing of the excesses of the Minister of Power for resolution of the issues in contention.
We call on the Federal Government to do the needful by creating the enabling environment for meaningful dialogue to resolving the issues by calling the Minister of Power to order, withdrawing soldiers from PHCN offices nationwide, and setting up a high powered Committee to sincerely address the legitimate concerns of the PHCN workers.
Promise Adewusi Chris Uyot
Ag. President Ag. General Secretary