Nigeria is currently experiencing a widespread blackout due to the national grid shutdown. This development follows the indefinite strike initiated by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which commenced today, November 14.
Ndidi Mbah, spokesperson for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) confirmed that the electricity workers have downed their tools.
The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), part NLC, has been identified as the primary union responsible for the shutdown of the national grid.
The union members withdrew their services at around 11:20 am on Tuesday. This action directly led to the nationwide blackout, significantly affecting various sectors and the general populace.
“Electricity workers are NLC members; they’ve followed the directive by organised labour to withdraw their services from Tuesday”, Mbah told Daily Post.
Government’s Reaction to the Strike and Blackout
The Federal Government, represented by Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and strategy, strongly opposed the strike.
The Presidency highlighted the strike as a violation of a court order and a disrespect towards the judiciary. The government’s primary concern is the detrimental impact of this strike on Nigeria’s economy and social activities.
The government emphasised that national interests should not be compromised due to the personal objectives of any labour leader.
Background of the Labour Strike
The current strike stemmed from an incident involving Joe Ajaero, the President of the NLC. Ajaero was assaulted on November 1, 2023, in Imo State, which subsequently led to the unions issuing a nationwide strike notice last week.
Despite a court order restraining the unions from proceeding with the strike, the NLC and Trade Union Congress went ahead with their plan, leading to the current situation.
Beyond the recent Ajaero fracas in Imo, recall that the NLC and the Federal Government have had a running battle over the removal of fuel subsidies, among other issues, that plunged the Nigerian populace into untold economic hardship.
The NLC had embarked on a warning strike in October, which was called off to give room for dialogue.
According to the labour union, the current strike is not only because of the assault on its president but also to seek redress for the unresolved economic issues affecting the masses.
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