Nigerians may be in for more hard times ahead as a nationwide power outage which commenced Wednesday may persist.
1st News can report that the nationwide power outage is the result of a strike embarked upon by electricity workers. The workers are protesting non-payment of the entitlements of disengaged staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria; as well as alleged underpayment of the severance package of over 5,000 ex-staff, among other grievances.
Meanwhile, 1st News can confirm that the nationwide power outage commenced after the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Wednesday; picketed the headquarters of major power distribution companies (DISCOS) across Nigeria. They include Ikeja Electric, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, both located in Lagos. Other DISCOS such as the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company and Kaduna Distribution Company, among others; put out notices informing the public of the strike.
The union members had locked staff of the distribution companies out and prevented them from gaining access to their offices. The move, which occurred in the wee hours of the day, had crippled power supply nationwide.
Joe Ajaero, President, NUEE, disclosed that the action was to draw the attention of the government to the challenges facing electricity workers in the country.
He said the union was impressed with the conduct of its members.
Nationwide power outage to persist until Govt listens, says union
“Compliance was 100 per cent and we are continuing tomorrow until government listens to our demands.
Equally important, the union had vowed to go on a nationwide strike; after the 21-day ultimatum it issued to the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman expired.
The union in a statement, signed by its President, Ajaero; had accused the Bureau of Public Enterprise of failing to pay up over 2,000 disengaged PHCN workers since 2013. Further, it alleged underpayment of severance of over 50,000 ex-PHCN staff. Also, the union frowned at the illegal transfer of schools built by the union to investors.
The union accused GENCOS of refusing to sign Condition of Service and rules of engagement; adding that some DISCOs were also denying the retirement benefits of some electricity workers.
It said the strike was the only option left for the union as the Federal Government had failed to dialogue with them to find lasting solutions to the lingering issues in the sector.
Victor Idemudia, Communications Manager, EKEDC; disclosed that the union members prevented staff from accessing the offices early on Wednesday.
He said that power distribution in their areas of operations would be affected if the situation persists.
“This is going to affect the economy of this country. We are appealing to the government and labour to urgently resolve the issue,” he said.