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Electricity workers’ strike looms over sack of labour leader

Nigeria’s epileptic power supply is set to get worse with the threat by the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) threatening to resume its pending strike, if a purported letter sacking its President, Mr Chris Okonkwo, was not withdrawn immediately.

The Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Umar Mohammed, had on April 24 issued the letter sacking Okonkwo, the company’s General Manager, Special Duties.

The association General Secretary, Mr Abubakar Dubagari, demanded that the letter sacking the labour leader be withdrawn.

The letter read: “After servicing TCN for a period of about six years, please be informed that your political posting had lapsed by June 11, 2018 and you should have ceased from coming to work from June 12, 2018.

“Consequently, you are to stop coming to work with immediate effect.”

Dubagari, expressing the association’s grievances over the sack, said: “We demand that the letter under reference be withdrawn immediately.

“In the event that you are unyielding to this demand, we shall mobilise all legal and industrial machineries at our disposal to resume our pending industrial action and this shall be without further notice.”

He said that termination of the appointment was not within the prerogative of Mohammed as Managing Director.

According to him, but it should be within the purview of the Minister of Power, subject to laid down rules and procedures.

“Dr Chris Okonkwo was not on political posting to TCN as you portrayed in your letter under reference.

“He has been a career power sector employee for more than 27 years and rose to the position of General Manager since 2013 through hard work and dedication to duties.

“His appointment, like any other employee of TCN, was anchored on the public service rules of 60 years of age or 35 years of service and does not carry tenure of service.

“As such, his service with TCN cannot be said to have lapsed since June 11, 2018,” Dubagari said.

He said the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Federal Ministry of Power, Trade Unions Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and other bodies intervened and the parties were advised to restrain themselves and resume harmonious working relationship.

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