NLC Protests Over High Electricity Tarrifs, Shuts Down Abuja.


According to the Nigeria Labour Congree (NLC), the price placed on electricity in Nigeria have become outrageous, even when power supply is not always available.

Last week, the NLC threatened to carry out a protest over new electricity tariffs. And yesterday, Monday 9th February, was the day they did, shutting down Abuja during the rally. Business activities were on a halt in Nigeria’s Federal Capital as Nigerian Labor Unions embarked on the peaceful mass protest against the overshooting charges which took effect early this month.

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The protest, which kicked off from the Labour House at the Central Business Area, comprised of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and several civil society groups. They walked around Abuja en-mass, carrying placards with various inscriptions such as;

“Give Us Prepaid Meters”

“We Need Light Not Darkness”

“We Cannot Pay More For Darkness”

“Don’t Increase Electricity Tariff”  

“Stop Estimated Billing”

“NERC and DISCOS Obey Court Order”

The unions made the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Wuse Zone 4, their first point of call. The President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, addressed the crowd saying that the time of taking people for granted is over. He also emphasized that across the world, billings are paid based on consumption not assumption. He said regulatory agencies are expected to protect the interest of consumers, and to put a stop to the impunity of electricity charge extortion.

Comrade Ayuba Wabba said,

President Buhari must stand with the people as he promised Nigerians and he must revisit the privatization of power sector. We would not allow where you ‘Genco and Disco’ to exploit Nigerians, and there must be an end to the estimated billing.

Waaba speaks on electricity
Ayuba Wabba

Wabba condemned the 45% increase in the Tariff. He said it is a fraud and Nigerians do not accept it, saying due process in the extant laws for such increment was not followed in consonance with section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act, 2005. He also drew attention to the fact that there has been no significant improvement in service delivery and most consumers do not have pre-paid meters as required by the privatization Memorandum of Understanding, MOU,  signed on November 1, 2013. The MOU stated that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers are to be metered to enable fair and appropriate billings.

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While responding on behalf of company, Head of Public Relations, Ahmed Shekarau told the protesters that the company would provide 100,000 prepaid meters free of charge to consumers, and same would repeat in the next five years. The protesters then visited the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC) and the National Assembly where a formal letter was handed over to the leadership. The protest was peaceful, as the Nigerian Police and other security operatives provided security while the protesters moved from one location to another, preventing any unwanted disorderliness.

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