Barely forty-eight hours after the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) declared an indefinite strike for improved remunerations and others, the federal government have been called upon to check the excesses of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) and their exploitative tendencies.
Daily Independent had reported that the members of NUEE in Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa states regional offices on Monday embarked on an industrial strike demanding amongst others an end to discriminatory salary scale in favour of some workers, lack of promotion and deductions from salaries in the name of pensions and cooperative societies without remitting same accordingly.
But two days into the NUEE down tool, customers have risen in support of the union in the area of paying some workers hugely to ignore cover-up short-comings and do the biddings of the AEDC management against the interest of the generality of the poor masses.
One of the customers, Lucy Mannock, (not real name) said the shout-out by NUEE has exposed some excesses of the AEDC who allegedly offer mouth-watering salaries to selected staff to do their biddings and therefore want the relevant government agencies to verify and not allow the claims to be swept under the carpet.
The customers counting their losses over the blackout, lamented exorbitant charges or high bills by the AEDC expressed reservations that the favoured workers will do everything possible to block all channels to seek redress against unjustifiable billings hence the need for the federal government to act on the revelation and call the company to order.
Lucy in reaction to the strike recalled how she and other customers were at a time compelled to contribute money to procure some electrical components after over a year in darkness due to a broken down transformer in their area when it was the responsibility of AEDC to do so.
Another customer who would also not want her names printed also recalled how she bought N5, 000 credit that usually lasts for more than a month or more only for it to be exhausted in less than a month without additional electrical appliances in the house.
The customers claimed that she had gone to the Regional office, opposite U K Bello to formally complain only to be forced to retreat by aggrieved workers on Monday wants the bills to be pocket friendly in line with present-day economic realities.
“I recharge for N5, 000 but unfortunately the credit got finished less than a month after and I didn’t add any other appliance to my house, so I really can’t understand what happened and that is the complaint I had only to be told that there is a strike and nobody will attend to me”.
Expressing worry that while she and many other customers pay hugely for electricity, some customers connive with some AEDC workers to engage in sharp practices ranging from fraudulent estimated billings and/illegal underground connection that makes it possible for some customers to pay little or nothing on a daily basis but consume light more.
“Some of us were forced to buy metres, but today there are some people that do not have metres in their houses but they use Airconditioner, pressing iron and other heavy light consuming appliances while the workers pretend not to notice all the injustices”.
The customers are therefore calling on the relevant government agencies to step in and save citizens from exploitative tendencies of the AEDC and other electricity service providers across Nigeria.
Meanwhile, our correspondent reports that supply has been restored in some parts of Minna metropolis as at the time of this report, but could not immediately ascertain if the NUEE in Niger Regional office has called off the strike or that the supply was under an alternative arrangement by the AEDC.