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Sahara Group Battles Former PHCN Staff Over Quarters

The new owners of Egbin Power Station are finding it difficult of evict the occupants of staff quarters for workers of the plant which is located off Ikrordu area of Lagos State.

The Sahara Group acquired the 1320 megawatt Egbin Power Station from the government during the privatization of public sector assets in the power sector by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

The Egbin Power Plc is not a unit of the Sahara Group.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Dallas M. Peavey Jr., described the former employees of the PHCN as illegal occupants at the Housing Estate, saying they constitute a major security challenge at the facility.

Commissioned in 1985 as part of the Egbin Power facility, the Egbin Housing Estate was designed to provide accommodation for employees to promote staff welfare and enhanced productivity. The Complex is currently being upgraded by Egbin Power’s new management as major repairs of the schools within the Estate have been concluded and there is an ongoing overhaul of the recreational centres and housing units.

A statement from the company quoted Mr. Peavey as accusing the former employees of the plant, their wards and certain groups in the community of disruption the operations and other crimes like rape, robberies and vandalism at the facility.

“The illegal occupants are not documented and this is a huge risk in an enclosed environment. Outcomes from various investigations show that some of the criminal and untoward acts perpetrated in the Estate have been traced to individuals linked to some of the former PHCN staff most of whom have either retired or transferred about 8years ago but has refused to vacate the Estate after being served quit notices for over two years now.

They continue to harass our staff and issue threats of major disruptions to the facility. The situation deserves immediate national attention considering the strategic role Egbin plays in the power sector.

We therefore appeal to law enforcement agencies to urgently address the situation which may result in sabotage to the plant,” he said.

The Egbin CEO said the housing constraint is taking its toll on the Technical Personnel and engineers who work on shift and on-call duty. He explained that no fewer than 150 members of staff are being denied accommodation by the situation, a development he added had led to endless cases of “trauma and impeded productivity” in the company. Most of the Technical personnel and Engineers who work on shift and on-call duty have had to seek accommodation outside the company’s facility and now find it difficult to attend to call duties especially when it occurs at odd hours. Employees on shift duty operations that end late in the night encounter several security risks on their way home.

“About 150 of our employees and their families are being denied accommodation as a result of the illegal occupants. We have staff crowded into apartments whilst the current occupants who have since been paid their severance packages and entitlements refuse to vacate the official quarters. We have about 16 graduate engineers crammed into a 3 bedroom, with many more staff and their families being dislodged.

Obviously, their prolonged illegal stay is stretching the existing maintenance facilities meant for the legal occupants. We are callingfor the prompt intervention of the government and law enforcement agencies to address the situation to ensure adequate security of lives and property, and most importantly, sustained transformation in Egbin,” he stated.

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