//Goodwin Ekosin, Kaduna Nigeria//
Ex staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in Kaduna have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ignore a petition by a group that is parading itself as the PHCN Staff Forum, which is requesting for investigation into the deductions done by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association and Allied Companies (SSAEAC).
It would be recalled that the group that petitioned the unions had alleged an unauthorized deduction of two per cent union dues from over 50,000 staff across the nation, claiming that the deductions were not accounted for.
The refuter, which was contained in a letter dated November 18, 2016, jointly signed by Ishaya Marcus and Umar Nuhu and addressed to the EFCC Chairman, which was received and acknowledged by the commission on November 21, described the petition as baseless, and one that can further delay the receipt of their outstanding benefits, which the unions are fighting to see materialize.
“We the concerned disengaged and re-engaged staff of the defunct PHCN of the Electricity Sector here in Kaduna have come Across a document in the social media (Facebook) reported by one Sunday Eze Onyemaechi that EFCC played host to a group of persons under the aegis of PHCN Staff Forum Kaduna, led by one Mr. Stanleh Illumah claiming to be representing over 50,000 ex-staff of PHCN,” the letter read.
It went on to set the records straight by explaining that all the disengaged staff including the leader of the group consented to the two per cent deduction by signing the statement of final claim which contained that two per cent union dues be deducted.
“The demand for the refund of 2% union dues is unreasonable and selfish. Union dues have been in existence since inception of trade unions and shall continue to exist as long as unions exist. There is no were in the world where an individual or group of individuals of any union who were retired, disengaged or voluntarily exited the union come back to demand for ‘profit on investment’ as they called it. The union is not a cooperative society where members demand for profit/dividend annually,” it noted.
It further explained that the union never ceased to exist on June 30, 2012 as being ignorantly speculated by the writers of the petition, adding that the calculation of their final entitlement was not shrouded in secrecy as the parameters used as the computation of severance was arrived at by the committee set up by the Federal Government which included stakeholders from BPE, PHCN, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Labour, three in-house unions and the EFCC.
The group also claimed that membership of staff ceased to exist as at June 30, 2012, and that the calculation of severance entitlement was clouded in secrecy.