Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said that labour unions under the aegis of the Trade Union Congress (TCN) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Company (SSAEAC) were making plans to embark on an unlawful disrupt of its operations, waring that this could result to nationwide electricity blackout.
TCN in a statement from its General Manager Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, explained that both unions had allegedly concluded plan to picket its operation by setting off an industrial action over a subsisting case that is before a national industrial court for judgment.
The case reportedly bothers on a leadership and management tussle between the in-house TCN branch of SSAEAC and its national body, and for which the branch has resisted thus leading to a court action.
However, Mbah, pointed out that despite the existing court process on the matter, the transmission company learnt the TUC and SSAEAC were about to disrupt its operations. She thus alerted the police and other law enforcement agencies in the country on this and its likely implications to power supply.
Mbah said in the statement that: “The attention of TCN management has been drawn to a document emanating from the Trade Union Congress, being circulated in the social media, captioned ‘Nigeria Risks Blackout As TUC’s Ultimatum Expires Today”, adding that, “issues for which the TUC has ill-advisedly declared an industrial action are already subject to a court action before the National Industrial Court Abuja Division, in Suit No. NICN/ABJ/121/19, which processes have already been served the TUC.”
She equally explained that, “the matter is subjudice and TCN is constrained, by respect for the courts, to refrain from divulging further details, except to enjoin the parties to this pending action – the TUC and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Company (SSAEAC), to show utmost respect to the hallowed institution of the court by maintaining the status quo.”
According to her: “Nigeria is a country governed by laws and what the parties should do when their matter is before a court of law is to ventilate their grievances in the courtroom.”
Furthermore, Mbah noted that the TCN recognised TUC and SSAEAC as lawful organisations that have been served with the processes in the aforementioned suit, adding that the transmission company believed both would respect the court processes and act within the ambits of the rule of law, by calling off or suspending the planned industrial action to allow the court processes elapse.
She, however said with regards to the potential impact of their action, “TCN is also drawing the attention of police authorities to the aforementioned and hereby invite them to take proactive measures to forestall any breach of public peace or breakdown of law and order, in the unlikely event that TUC insists on proceeding with its planned actions.”
The TCN, she explained would also hold the TUC responsible for any breakdown of law and order or any untoward occurrences that may result from its actions if both unions choose to go ahead with their plans.