Electricity Workers Threaten Nationwide Blackout Over Tariff Hike

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The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has issued a stern warning, declaring a looming nationwide blackout if the Nigerian Government does not reverse the recently approved electricity tariff increase. In a statement delivered by its acting General Secretary, Dominic Igwebike, NUEE directly informed the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, that failure to address the tariff issue would lead to their members taking decisive action.

The tariff hike, implemented by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on April 3, affected Band A customers who receive 20 hours of power daily, resulting in a significant increase in the cost per kilowatt-hour. NUEE, in solidarity with other labor unions such as the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Unions Congress, strongly criticized the tariff adjustment as unsustainable, particularly given the challenges in achieving consistent 20-hour power supply.

“The recent hike in electricity tariff from N68/kWh to N225/kWh is absurd in a country where most of the masses are grappling with basic survival and an electricity access rate of about 55 per cent. The hike in the electricity tariff is grossly detrimental to Nigeria’s economic diversification, growth, and well-being.

“As a critical stakeholder in the power sector concerned with Nigerians getting constant and affordable power supply, we state categorically that the hike in the electricity tariff is not beneficial to Nigerians and should be withdrawn.

“We just want the citizens to know that this thing is not possible, it is not feasible, you cannot give what you don’t have.

“When we don’t have the energy to give to the people, and you ask our people to go out and collect such money, you know it is dangerous. We often don’t disclose what to do to the public because our sector is critical to the nation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, who spoke through his media aide, Bolaji Tunji, said the government was doing everything to improve supply in Nigeria, and everybody would be happy at the end of the day.

“We want to appeal to the labour union to understand what led to this. This is not about strike. It is about understanding so that we can all work together.

“It is not anybody’s joy that there are blackouts all the time. These steps are being taken to solve the problems in the power sector. I beg the labour union to understand that this will galvanise the economy and create jobs.

“I want to appeal to the union to bear with us. It is for the good of the nation,” he stressed.

The power sector workers emphasized the necessity for the government to reconsider the tariff hike, highlighting the impracticality of the current electricity supply situation. In response, the Minister of Power, represented by his media aide, Bolaji Tunji, assured the public that the government is actively working to enhance electricity supply across Nigeria, aiming for a positive outcome for all stakeholders involved.

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