By Ossom Raphael
The Minister of Power Prof. Chinedu Nebo has called Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, workers to call off their industrial action and return back to work.
Prof. Nebo made the call in Abuja Thursday, while speaking on the effect of the workers’ action on gas supply to the power plants.
The Union on Monday embarked on strike over the withdrawal of the operating licence of the NNPC/Department of Petroleum Resources’ closed pension scheme.
The minister observed that the actions taken by members of NUPENG and PENGASSAN in the course of their ongoing strike have cut off gas supply to major power stations including Egbin, AES, Olorunsogo, Geregu and Sapele.
According to Nebo “I regret the adverse effect of this development on power supply at a time when Government had recorded substantial progress in solving the gas problem, thereby raising peak generation in recent weeks to an average of 4,500, with a spinning reserve of about 300 MW.
“Reports from across the country had also, within the period, indicated noticeable improvement in the quantity and quality of power supply to homes and businesses”.
He therefore, decried the current setback arising from the oil and gas workers’ action, curtailing supply of gas to power stations, and reducing power generation.
“This has inevitably led to a drastic reduction in power supply across the country”.
The Minister however, assured that efforts were on to ensure a speedy and amicable resolution of the matter, and appealed for the understanding of electricity consumers affected by the development.
Prof Nebo, while appreciating the concerns and fears of the workers, the also appealed to members of NUPENG and PENGASSAN to take into consideration, the enormous damaging socio-economic effect of their action on the nation, and return to work.
Prof. Nebo who also inspected the weather-induced explosion that occurred during the week at Apo substation in Abuja the Federal Capital Territory to assessed the extent of damage, was assured by the TCN engineers, that efforts were on to restore supply to parts of Abuja affected by the incident, by Friday this week.
He further assured that results of Government’s efforts to effect a significant improvement in power supply would become even more evident in the coming weeks
The Minister emphasized that the cause of fire that gutted the facility is nature induced from lightening sparks, he dismissed the insinuation that the accident could have been by attack or sabotage.