by Ranti Joseph
More than 2,000 disengaged staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) on Wednesday protested against non-payment of their housing allowances in Ibadan, Oyo state.
The protesters who stormed the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Oyo State Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) with placards lamented that three of them had died while awaiting their housing allowances.
Their spokesman, Julius Adeleke Taiwo who disclosed that the non-payment of the allowance dated back to 2013, said they were being owed N391million by the National Electricity Liability Management Company noting that they did not intend to resort to unlawful action, “we appeal to the authorities to accede to our request,” he said.
He explained that it was an agreement between them and the management that their housing allowances should be deducted monthly and paid back to them in bulk later.
He disclosed that during the period of privatisation, the bulk rent remained two batches to be paid and they promised to pay as at when due. “Since that time, October 2013, the money has been paid. The bulk rent remains two batches,” he added.
Those affected, they explained, spread across Ogun, Kwara, part of Kogi, Osun, Oyo, and others under the Ibadan zone before the privatisation.
They asked the National Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO), a body set up by the Federal Government to see to all liabilities that the government incurred during the privatisation period.
“This arrangement was done during the era of Engineer Bolaji Oyesiku when he was managing director. It was agreed by both the management and the union to pay the money in bulk. The total amount is N391, 027,556.40. We are law abiding citizens and peace loving hence, we would not want to resort to unlawful action or option in the quest to obtain our inalienable entitlement so unjustifiably delayed,” Taiwo said.