PHCN workers protest members’ arrest by Kaduna Deputy Speaker
//Godwin Ekosin, Kaduna//
Members of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) Thursday stormed the residence of the Deputy Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon. John Audu, protesting what they described as illegal arrest, detention and torture of two of their members by the principal lawmaker.
Leading the protest, Assistant General Secretary (North West) of NUEE, Comrade Moses Amedu said, their members, Comrade Danjuma Stephen and Comrade Olabode Olabundiri were at the Deputy Speaker’s House to perform their legal duty when they were illegally arrested.
According to him, “We are here in the Kaduna State Deputy Speaker’s house, Honourable John Audu who yesterday got the police at his disposal and went to our office located at Sabon Tasha, Kaduna, intimidated, arrested, bullied and dragged our men to police station for further torture.
“Two of one members detained at the police station are, Comrade Danjuma Stephen and Comrade Olabode Olabundiri. They were doing their jobs legally, and they went to the house of the Deputy Speaker, Kaduna, located at Mahuta in Sabon Tasha, they discovered that the house owed electricity bills, and got the house disconnected.
“But the Deputy Speaker who supposed to be honourable decided to go the dishonourable way to get the police, instead of settling his bills, and arrested the Staffs, closed down the billing office, and subjected our members to torture.
“For over four hours, they were detained at Sabon Tassha police station, answering questions, stripped of everything they had, and pushed to into cell where we have criminals.
“Our members were doing their legitimate duty, but the question we are asking is, ‘Is the Deputy Speaker exempted from paying electricity bills? If he is excepted, we want to know because we believe that the electricity organisation has been privatised, and everybody is expected to pay for his bill.
“Secondly, the Deputy Speaker’s house is a new building, we are not sure the house was properly documented in our office because he did not pass through any legal way of electrifying the new premises. The house was built, but it was wired by illegal electricians and connected to national grid, and refused that the house be captured into our billing system.
“It was because of the two of our men that were arrested, insisted that the house must be metered, but the owner of the house who is the Deputy Speaker refused to provide information about himself to enable us register him, but we had to get the name from neighbours, and begin to supply him bills for him to pay.
“Instead of getting the bills paid, he decided to use his position to get the police and arrest our members. What is he accusing our Staff of, that they had come to disconnect his light. So we are saying that Nigeria belong to all of us, and we must be allowed to do our work constitutionally.
“Our members were released after five hours of detention by the police. Comrade Amedu explained.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker, John Audu who spoke through a Civil Engineer, Ahmadu Illiya, who handled the construction of the house said, the NUEE members were out to tarnish his image.
According to him, “I happened to be the Engineer that built this house. So yesterday, a friend who works with the electricity company wanted to know why power was disconnected from the house I built some years ago. I asked the Deputy Speaker what was the problem, and he said he was not sure what the electricity staff were doing to his light because his payment of the bills are up to date.
“He gave me all the receipts of all the payment of the bills, they are up to date, but these electricity staff did not only disconnect the light, they went away with the cables without any prior information of the action they took.
“And the question we are asking is that is it the people that are supposed to electrifying their communities or the electricity company?.
“They should not tarnish the image of a man who meant well for the people. We approached the electricity company for two phase meters, but they said it has to be three phase meters in this house. So are we to run the three phase meters or the company. I don’t think there should all these clashes. We are doing direct payment pending when the meters are provided, and we have paid up to April 2016.” He stated
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