Members of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) on Tuesday picketed the corporate head office of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company following the disconnection of two textile factories.
The textile factories – Nichemtex in Ikorodu and Cotsyn, Ilupeju both in Lagos were allegedly wrongly disconnected by the Ikeja Electric.
The development was said to have forced the companies to shut down operations for the past three months with over 5000 workers of the companies rendered redundant.
This was why the textile workers led by their President, Comrade John Adaji marched from the NUTGTWN office on Acme road Lagos to the Alausa office of Ikeja Electric to picket the distribution company.
Amidst tight security, the workers occupied the office insisting the DISCO would not operate until they restore electricity to the two factories.
General Secretary of the union, Comrade Issa Aremu who briefed newsmen at the premises of Ikeja Electric said Nichemtex which employs over 3000 workers had been crippled by the distribution company.
He disclosed that the disconnection of the factory came after it had already paid over N70m to the DISCO while negotiation was still ongoing.
Aremu explained that the bone of contention was that the company was ready to pay the DISCO but the metering system being given to the factory was not the one the Federal Government approved for manufacturers.
He said while the approved tariff for manufacturing concerns was 2.0, the DISCO is charging the factory 2.1 amounting to millions of Naira which is unacceptable and too high for the factory to bear.
According to him, the power sector reform carried out about three years had virtually turned to “deformation of industries.”
He said the Federal Government’s determination to revive industries would be a mirage without the distribution companies providing support in terms of regular electricity supply to the companies.
Aremu noted that other DISCO like the Eko distribution company are doing well but Ikeja Electric needs to improve on its relationship with customers by stopping arbitrary charges.
He said, “Nichemtex which is the largest textile factory we have today in Lagos and in fact West African sub- region and employs 3000 direct jobs, that company has been shut down not because of lack of raw materials, not because of lack of workers, not because of lack of finance for the company to work but because Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company decided arbitrarily, undemocratically and even criminally to disconnect the company.”