Electricity Tariff Hike: Workers Lock Out Minister During Protest, Issue 14-day Ultimatum

Electricity Tariff Hike: Workers Lock Out Minister During Protest, Issue 14-day Ultimatum

4 weeks ago
2 mins read

eIn a dramatic turn of events yesterday, members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) staged a shutdown at the Federal Ministry of Power headquarters in Abuja over the electricity tariff hike.

This unprecedented action was in response to the recent hike in electricity tariffs imposed by the government, which has stirred widespread discontent among Nigerian workers and citizens.

“Our members have been pushed to the brink by this unjust tariff increase,” declared Igwebike Dominic, acting General Secretary of NUEE. “We will not stand down until the government addresses our demands.”

The unions, in a joint statement issued after their National Executive Council meeting, condemned the tariff hike as insensitive and burdensome. They called for an immediate reversal of the decision and set a deadline of May 31, 2024, for the government to respond.

“The unilateral increase in electricity tariffs without consulting stakeholders is unacceptable,” the unions asserted. “It exacerbates the economic hardships faced by ordinary Nigerians.”

Central to their grievances is the perceived lack of consultation by the Ministry of Power and the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in implementing the electricity tariff hike, which they claim was done without considering the impact on workers and citizens.

READ ALSO: Labour Unions To Begin Protest On Monday Over Electricity Tariff Hike

“The government’s actions resemble an attempt to privatize and dismantle crucial infrastructure without regard for public welfare,” stated the unions’ letter to Minister Adebayo Adelabu.

The standoff at the Power House in Abuja signifies a growing discontent within the power sector, exacerbated by what the unions describe as arbitrary financial deductions and operational mismanagement.

“We demand transparency in how revenues are managed and an end to political maneuvers that undermine the stability of our energy supply,” the unions’ statement continued.

Minister Adelabu, who was reportedly locked out of his office during the protest, has yet to publicly respond to the unions’ demands. However, government sources indicate that a meeting to address the grievances is being considered.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have thrown their weight behind the unions, threatening nationwide protests if the government fails to act swiftly.

“We cannot tolerate a situation where essential services like electricity become a luxury beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerians,” remarked a spokesperson for the NLC.

The broader implications of the electricity tariff hike have sparked concerns across various sectors of Nigerian society. Businesses reliant on stable power supply fear increased operational costs, while households brace for higher utility bills amidst ongoing economic challenges.

“We are already struggling to make ends meet,” lamented a resident of Lagos. “This tariff increase will only push more people into poverty.”

In response to mounting pressure, the Federal Government has indicated a willingness to convene discussions with labor leaders and stakeholders in the power sector. However, concrete steps towards resolving the crisis remain elusive as both sides dig in their heels.

As the deadline set by labor unions approaches, the eyes of the nation remain fixed on Abuja, where negotiations behind closed doors could determine the future affordability and accessibility of electricity for millions of Nigerians.

In the words of Igwebike Dominic, “Our resolve is firm. We demand fairness, transparency, and accountability in how our electricity sector is managed. The government must listen to the voice of the people.”


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