The Staff Union of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) has vowed to petition anti-graft agencies over alleged mismanagement of $975 million Lake Chad Basin project by the Director General of the commission, Prof. Eli Bala.
The Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ECN Unit, Mr Promise Chukwu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that there was need to unravel the alleged corrupt practice and other irregularities under Bala’s watch.
He said that the union would conclude the report and transmit it to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on or before Friday.
“It is imperative to specifically draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and the public on the need to direct anti-corruption agencies to unravel the grand corruption and mismanagement of international donor funded projects shrouded in secrecy.
“It is important to particularly unravel the mystery surrounding how African Development Bank fund of about $975 million United States Lake Chad Basin project was expended.
“Similarly, millions of naira had been budgeted and squandered under the National Energy Data Bank project, with nothing to show for it,’’ Chukwu said.
The ECN staff union had on June 19 embarked on an indefinite strike to protest the reappointment of Eli for a second tenure.
The union appealed to President Buhari to reverse Eli’s reappointment and investigate him over alleged maladministration as well as flagrant indifference to public service regulations.
Chukwu further accused the DG of continuously perpetrating deliberate unfair labour practices by refusing to implement agreements reached with the staff union.
“Another sad and pathetic reality the staff of ECN suffered under Bala for five years was his inability to create functional divisions, branches and sections within the technical department of the commission.
“He also failed to define job schedules for the staff as well as any form of mandatory career progression training required to bridge the large skills gap and manpower requirement to execute ECN mandate,’’ he said.
Chukwu emphasised the need for the federal government to set up an independent administrative enquiry to examine the capabilities of the members of the ECN management to address the labour-related issues.
NAN correspondent who visited the headquarters of the commission observed that workers were having fun during work hours.
While some of them danced to the music playing at the premises, some engaged in table tennis competition and others sat down at different positions discussing among themselves.
They displayed placards with Inscriptions “EFCC Please Investigate ECN’s Financial Transactions in Project Account’’ and “Incessant Violation of Financial Regulations in Energy Commission of Nigeria’’
All efforts to get the director general’s reaction was unsuccessful.
Bala’s response came through the receptionist, saying: “I will reach you when I need you.’’