The Staff Union of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) under the aegis of Association of Senior Civil Servants on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to rescue the country’s ailing energy sector.
The president of the association, Mr. Promise Chukwu, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Chukwu urged the presidency to intervene in the current impasse between the staff union and management of ECN to sustain the gains so far recorded by the Federal Government in ensuring energy efficiency in the country.
The staff union had embarked on strike since June 19 to protest the reappointment of Prof. Eli Bala as the Director-General of the commission for a second term.
Chukwu said that the continued strike by the union was not intended to arbitrarily hold the commission to ransom or ground its activities, but to expose alleged corrupt practices under Bala’s watch.
He said that the inability of the commission to meet its mandate had made it unable to contribute its quota in addressing the challenges confronting the country’s energy sector.
According to him, another issue that needs quick intervention of Mr President is the controversial reassignment of supervision of ECN from the presidency to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST).
“This is not only indefensible but at variance with ECN’s core mandates of which the FMST has very little to do with and also not in line with global best practice.
“Such placement can never enable the nation to reap the benefits of establishing and funding ECN which is to assist the presidency to monitor and evaluate the energy sector.
“The commission ought to feed the presidency with independent expert performance assessment and give adequate advice needed to develop the country’s energy sector.’’
He, however, urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to expedite action in investigating alleged mismanagement of the Lake Chad Basin project.
“The union had on June 27 petitioned the EFCC to specifically draw the attention of the public on the need for the anti-graft agency to unravel the corruption and mismanagement of international donor funded projects shrouded in secrecy.
“The Federal Government should unravel the mystery surrounding how African Development Bank Fund of about 975 million dollars Lake Chad Basin project was expended.’’
He emphasised the need for the Federal Government to set up a panel to investigate the alleged maladministration of the commission as well as issues affecting staff welfare.
“The doubt around the integrity and competence of Bala has provoked calls for full investigation of his score card,’’ Chukwu said.
NAN correspondent who visited the premises of the commission observed that activities were grounded as the striking workers engaged in discussions, prayers, dancing to music and playing of table tennis.
“The premises has remained without light as the power supply to the agency was cut off due to unpaid debts to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) and non-availability of diesel to power the generators,’’ Chukwu said.
The Director-General of the commission rebuffed the correspondent’s efforts to speak with him on the allegations.