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OPINION

ABU’s ASUU Got It Wrong

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Recently, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ABU chapter, in a press release dated 14th December, 2018 with the caption, ‘Collective Punishment On People of Zaria City and Environs’, accused the Kaduna Electric of, among other things, “punishing” electricity users in Zaria City and its environs. Nothing could be factually incorrect and misleading than this baseless and unfounded allegation.

It is instructive to note that in our Zaria Regional Office, we have 1009 distribution transformers and the disconnection of defaulters was carried out in 234 DTs,  less than one quarter of the DTs in the Region. But unfortunately, the ASUU officials rushed to press giving a wrong and malicious impression that the entire Zaria City and its environs were plunged into darkness. Nothing could be farther from the truth as there are millions of people and hundreds of communities within and outside Zaria City who have paid their current charges are currently enjoying the service of the company.

It is equally worthy of note that in the month of October, 2018 alone, the affected customers/cummunities consumed electricity worth over N450m, but sadly, only about N45m, less than 10% of the cost of energy supplied, was realized by by the Company from these customers. This prompted the Company to issue notices of withdrawal of service to the defaulting customers. Some of these customers made efforts and paid their current charges before the expiration of the notice and are currently enjoying the service, while those that failed to meet the minimum threshold were disconnected. How then does withdrawal of service from perpetual defaulters amount to “collective punishment?”

It is equally pertinent to state here that Kaduna Electric has never and will never punish anybody in the course of its business. The service of the Company was only withdrew from the affected customers/communities after painstaking processes of  engagement, consultations and notices of service withdrawal served.

To further confirm our commitment to mutual beneficial relationship with our customers, 12 communities have had their power supply restored as at yesterday, 14th December after paying their October billing with 5 others reconnected after paying about 72% percent of their October billing with an undertaking to offset the balance within a week.

It is quite regretable that ASUU,  ABU chapter, a supposedly body of intelligensia and brightest minds in our society will resort to cheap blackmail, malicious mudslinging and delibrate mis-representation of facts without even giving Kaduna Electric the benefit of fair hearing. What happened to the elementary and basic principle of natural justice that demands that fair hearing should always be given to all parties in a dispute. The ASUU officials that issued the Press statement cannot claim ignorance of this principle, neither could they claim that the Company is inaccessible.

This and the accusation by  ASUU that we are “agents of predator capitalism” put to question the motive of the University teachers and give credence to our suspicion that the motive was anything but altruistic. Our take here is that if the ASUU have anything against private ownership of business ventures, they should tell Nigerians that they are against people owning property/business rather than being the hunting dogs of some hidden forces. The Union undoubtedly stands to loose whatever is left of its credibility if it continues this needless proxy war.

We therefore appeal to the general public to dismiss and disregard all the inciting and provocative advocacy of the ASUU ABU. Perhaps, their conscience has now denied them the much needed sound sleep and restful days, hence their fruitless search for an imaginary enemy.

– Abdullahi is head of Corporate Communication, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC)


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