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Power firms holding Nigerians hostage

A former President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Peter Esele, has accused the electricity generation and distribution companies of failing to fulfil their side of the deal for the privatisation of Nigeria’s power sector.

Esele explained that against established timelines in the privatisation agreement, the Gencos and Discos had failed to guarantee a steady power sector.

Speaking with journalists in Benin, Edo State on Thursday, the former labour leader noted that the Federal Government had placed itself in a difficult situation when it privatised the power sector in 2013.

He explained, “I was the TUC president then when we had the discussion about power. Between (former) President Goodluck Jonathan’s government and President Muhammadu Buhari’s government; these so-called Gencos and Discos have collected over N1tn.

“How can we be giving money to privatise an entity? What they have done is blackmailing the government, as they borrowed so much money from the banks. So, if the government does not make money available to them, they will not pay the banks and the banks may go under.

“They do not share their profit with us. When profit comes, they pocket it. But you and I will carry their liability.”

He added, “When you carry out privatisation, there are timelines. There are agreements. Are they meeting the timelines? No. The Discos declared force majeure in the North-East, so they are not responsible for anything.

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“But in other areas, if you do not meet the timelines, then you have violated the terms of the contract and the asset can be resold. I was part of the negotiating team.”

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