By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja

The legal team of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) on Tuesday said that the picketing of the company premises by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the National Chapter of Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) amounts to contempt of court.

The legal team led by the General Manager (Legal/Company Secretary) Mrs. Fatima Lawan, cited that by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria Suit No. NICN/ABJ/121/2019, the picketers violated court injunction which had restricted them from embarking on any industrial action against TCN.

Mrs Lawan spoke even as the TUC and the National Chapter of SSAEAC on Tuesday, 14 May, 2019 resorted to violence by throwing stones and using dangerous weapons against the TCN staff and Abuja SSAEAC members who had resisted the planned picketing of the company for the second day running.

In course of the fracas, the TCN Branch SSAEAC Chairman, Comrade Abidemi Dairo was wounded and rushed to the hospital while others sustained various degrees of injuries inflicted on them by the picketers.

According a statement by the TCN General Manager Public Affairs, Mrs Ndidi Mbah, “The contemptuous picketing of the TCN CHQs office by the TUC and SSAEC is an affront on the authority of the Court.

“The unlawful picketing by SSAEAC and TUC was violent as some staff of TCN were grievously injured by SSAEAC and TUC members and are currently receiving medical attention.

“It will be recalled that TUC was misled by Comrade Chris Okonkwo, current President of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) to serve notice of picketing on the company on the flimsy excuse that there is no industrial harmony in the Company.

” However, real motive of the SSAEAC President is to settle scores with the TCN branch of his union, having lost the support of TCN staff in his misguided bid to use the Association to advance his selfish interest.

The full text of the statement reads below:

UNLAWFUL PICKETING OF THE TRANSMISSION COMPANY OF NIGERIA (TCN) BY THE TRADE UNION CONGRESS (TUC) AND NATIONAL CHAPTER OF SENIOR STAFF ASSOCIATION OF ELECTRICITY AND ALLIED COMPANIES (SSAEAC) IN FLAGRANT DISREGARD OF AN ORDER OF COURT ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA.

Sequel to the press release by TCN on May 12, 2019 and a court order issued by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Suit No. NICN/ABJ/121/2019 upon application by TCN and duly served on the parties, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) picketed the Corporate Headquarters of TCN on the morning of 14th May, 2019, in flagrant and brazen disregard of the court order.

Speaking on the court order, the General Manager (Legal/Company Secretary) Mrs. Fatima Lawan stated that the Court specifically restrained the defendants in the suit (SSAEAC and TUC) ‘from picketing or any industrial action, or further industrial action against the claimant pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice’.

The contemptuous picketing of the TCN CHQs office by the TUC and SSAEC is an affront on the authority of the Court.

The unlawful picketing by SSAEAC and TUC was violent as some staff of TCN were grievously injured by SSAEAC and TUC members and are currently receiving medical attention.

It will be recalled that TUC was misled by Comrade Chris Okonkwo, current President of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) to serve notice of picketing on the company on the flimsy excuse that there is no industrial harmony in the Company.

However, real motive of the SSAEAC President is to settle scores with the TCN branch of his union, having lost the support of TCN staff in his misguided bid to use the Association to advance his selfish interest.

Comrade Okonkwo lost the support of TCN staff after they discovered he mismanaged their superannuation fund and the monthly subscriptions from members of the Association.

The TCN Branch of SSAEAC has made this act of misconduct by Okonkwo a subject of investigation by EFCC. Comrade Chris Okonkwo, out of sheer mischief, took the position that the TCN Branch of SSAEAC has the backing of TCN Management in the call for his probe by EFCC.

Management believes that the actions of SSAEEC is an attempt to sabotage the successes recorded by the Company.

TCN under the current Management has successfully expanded the capacity of the Grid from 5,000MW, when it took office in February 2017, to 8,100MW in December 2018. It is on record that TCN receives less than 30% of its revenue from the Discos; yet she has been able to attain this unprecedented stride in Grid expansion largely due to staff support.

Using in-house capacity, TCN has installed transformers and strung lines with associated transmission system devices in the last two years more than had ever been achieved in the previous 15 years before this administration.

Unlike before, TCN – using in-house capacity – has prepared projects and secured more than $1.6 Billion from multilateral donors. This is meant to reinforce the network across the nation to N-1 Reliability standards.

TCN has also achieved a level of system frequency control never experienced in the nation’s history and this was recently commended by West African Power Pool (WAPP). Current TCN management has been promoting staff more than it had ever done before in its history; we are working assiduously to enhance the company’s revenue base so we can pay better salary.

Management wants to use this medium to call on staff to please ensure they remain law-abiding amid the unwarranted provocation by Comrade Okonkwo and his sponsors.

Ndidi Mbah
General Manager (Public Affairs)
14/5/19