President Muhammadu Buhari formally fired the management of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Friday, following a protracted power struggle among the company’s owners that harmed the distribution company’s employees.
A new interim governing board has been appointed to manage the day-to-day operations of the electrical distribution firm, according to a statement by Ofem Uket, a Media Aide to Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy-Agba.
Despite the fact that the decision had been predicted for some time, the dissolution of the board was hastened by Monday’s industrial action by the company’s disgruntled employees over unpaid pensions, allowances, salary, and promotions.
The sacking of the management team was relayed by the presidency to the federal minister of power, according to the statement, which stressed that the new development takes effect immediately.
It further stated that the Minister of Power, Aliyu Abubakar, and Agba had intervened earlier through dialogue with the Ministry of Labour, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, and the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, to settle and call off the 14-hour strike action.
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The Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna, and parts of Edo states are among AEDC’s franchise regions.
As a result of the workers’ strike on Monday, the impacted areas were completely blacked out from 7 a.m. until around 8 p.m.
According to the statement, “the presidential directive as stated has also directed the BPE to establish a new management team for the AEDC.”
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the suspension of the strike had previously been signed by Jedy-Agba, the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sanusi Garba, the Director General of BPE, Alex Okoh, and Joe Ajaero on behalf of the union.
“They have also been given 21 days to pay unpaid emoluments and entitlements of personnel,” according to the statement.
It further stated that the government “has described the AEDC’s non-performance and incompetence as a national humiliation,” and that the management team’s suspension will continue until further notice.
“At the conclusion of extensive consultations between the leadership of NUEE and relevant government institutions in the power sector regarding the industrial action, the government intervened with a firm arrangement to ensure the payment of outstanding entitlements of AEDC staff within 21 days of the MoU’s signing.”
The battle over the board of directors of KANN Utility Company Limited, the company that owns AEDC, had raged for years, as shareholders disagreed on board and management nominations.
Last year, the issue came to a head when certain AEDC investors supposedly suggested changes to Disco’s governing board.
The board of KANN Utility Company Limited had announced the withdrawal of their nominations to the board of AEDC and their replacement with fresh nominees, according to CEC Africa Limited (CECA), one of the parties in the dispute at the time.
Mr. Joe (Joseph) Makoju, Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu, Dr. Olubunmi Peters, Dr. George Nwangwu, and Mr. Faruk Aliyu were among the new directors suggested by KANN’s board.
“Since then, the AEDC board has resolved to accept both the withdrawals and the new appointments,” the statement added.
In response, Shehu Malami, Chairman of the dissolved board of AEDC and KANN, stated the alleged shift in the Disco’s administration was incorrect.
“For the record,” he added at the time, “the board of AEDC is the only authorised entity that can nominate or remove its directors, and has made no such decision in recent time.”