The worsening electricity supply nationwide as a result of dwindling generation by the various plants across the country for sundry reasons, has thrown the Federal Secretariat Complex in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, into darkness after supply was cut off by the electricity distribution company.
As a result, workers deserted their offices, as most of the offices in the complex were closed yesterday.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the complex, which host most ministries, including Education, Health, Science and Technology, Women Affairs, Sports, had no electricity supply.
Some of the workers told NAN that the blackout had been on for some weeks due to the inability of the ministries to pay their outstanding electricity bills.
They said the situation has impacted negatively on productivity, reduced office working hours and forced workers to loiter the complex, late resumption and early closure of work.
A staff of the Ministry of Health, who gave his name simply as Tunde, described the situation as an embarrassment and urged the federal government to investigate and punish the persons responsible for the situation.
“It is so unfortunate and an embarrassing that we have been without power supply because of non-payment of electricity bills. Meanwhile, government is the one canvassing for the payment of utility bill in every sector.
“The government needs to really look at this matter, investigate and prosecute whoever that is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the payment of bills,” he said.
According to him: “We cannot continue this way. No electricity to pump water for the toilets. Everywhere smells.”
Umar Mohammed, another staff in the secretariat, said the power supply had affected the productivity of workers, as most civil servants in the secretariat are unable to work effectively.
“Most workers cannot work and put in their best as they are used to, because even though my ministry and some others had resorted to the use of generators for power supply, we do not have the money to run it throughout the working hours; it has to be within a stipulated time.”
“This has frustrated the efforts of workers who are ready to work, but are unable to do so because of power supply.”
Similarly, Musa Tukur, said workers now resume late to work and leave early due to inadequate electricity supply.
“Most workers just come to show face and register their names that they came to work and immediately they do so, they loiter around the complex, then disappear for the day,” he lamented.
On her own part, Mary Olushola appealed to the ministries involved to expedite action in resolving the issue of power supply, saying it had contributed immensely to her health challenges.
“Even though I know that exercise is good for one’s health, but it is not easy climbing up and down the staircase to the 11th floor all the time at my age and health challenges,” she said.
According to her, the electricity supply should to be quickly revived, as it had affected the use of elevators, paralysed official activities and the input of workers, which she said by extension would affect the country as a whole.
Also, a source, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed that workers in the secretariat now alternate among colleagues when to come for work due to the power outage.
“Due to the power outage, workers now rotate and liaise among themselves when to come to work and days they should take off to reduce cost of transportation and redundancy,” the source said.
When NAN visited the Maintenance Unit of the Ministry of Health, the director, General Services directed his Personal Assistant to inform the reporter that he was not authorised to speak with the media.
Similarly, another source at the Ministry of Education directed the reporter to the electricity distribution company for details on the power outage at the secretariat.