From TUNDE OMOLEHIN, Sokoto
The hostility between authority of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and the Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magtakarda Wamakko over allegation of maltreatment of its staff has entered a new dimension, with the PHCN embarking on mass disconnection of government establishments. Daily Sun gathered that the disconnection commenced few days after members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) suspended their five-day industrial action and restored electricity to the state.
The union’s zonal Secretary, Mallam Yusuf Abdulkarim, confirmed the development, saying, “it is true that we have carried out the disconnection of all state government’s institutions over unpaid debts to the PHCN. They (state government) are owing PHCN over N70 million being the electricity consumed.”
Daily Sun learnt from a source that the instruction to embark on the disconnection spree was given by the management of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, (KEDC) before a brief notice of disconnection was served the affected agencies. Government institutions so far disconnected include Government House, Government Guest lodges, Shehu Shagari College of Education, among other owned tertiary institutions, ministries and other agencies.
The state water board and state specialist hospital were, however, spared. Reports in some quarters that the personal residence of the governor was among others targeted for disconnection could not be confirmed. Reacting, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Wamakko, Mallam Sani Umar described the action of the PHCN as “irresponsible.”
He advised the authority of PHCN to behave in a civil manner and respect the court order, adding, “I advise them not to take laws into their hands as actions taken by the PHCN is already prejudiced.” On the debt owed by the state government, Sani said part of the debt owed by the state government was inherited by the present administration.
“Despite that, the amount mentioned as debt by PHCN was inherited, the current government has been paying N21 million excluding the monthly current charges to offset the debt as agreed by the PHCN,” he explained.