08 January 2-16, Abuja -The organised labour on Monday paralysed activities in nearly all offices of the Electricity Distribution Companies nationwide, following its protest over increased in electricity tariff.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that protesters, led by labour leaders in states, picketed the companies in compliance to the directive of the labour unions NAN reports that the protest was led nationwide by leaders and members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and civil society groups. At the head office of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) in Imo, the protesters, as early as 7a.m., padlocked the gate to the company preventing entry into the premises. At the office located at No. 1, Royce Road, a banner with the inscription, “Organised labour says no to hike in electricity tariff; provide us with prepaid meters, not estimated bills’’, was tied to the gate. Austin Chilakpu, the state NLC chairman, said the reason for the action was to make known their displeasure over the recent hike in electricity tariff. “What NLC is doing in Imo today is also taking place in the other 36 states and Abuja. “We call for this protest following the recent hike in the electricity tariff by 43 per cent and the continued issuing of estimated bills to customers,’’ he said. Chilakpu recalled that after privatisation of PHCN, the new owners assured that before any increase in tariff, they would make prepaid meters available to consumers. “Regrettably, since they took over, the prepaid meters have not been supplied; they only stay back in their offices and issue estimated bills to customers. “There is no form of corruption like what is going on in the distribution companies, and it is very painful that this is going on while the federal government is fighting corruption,’’ he said. The NLC chairman also said that the increase was in disobedience to an existing order of a Lagos High Court. Also in Calabar, Cross River, the NLC locked out workers of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC). Mr John Ushie, chairman of NLC in the state said that the action became necessary in order to stop the uncompromising attitude of the distribution companies towards the plight of Nigerians. According to him, allowing the hike will cause more hardship and increase the spate of criminality in the country. `If there is an increase in petrol, you pay and you see what you are buying. “In the case of electricity, we do not know what we are buying and what we are paying for. “There is no light and even when there is light we are having a candle-like kind of light, yet they have gone ahead to increase tariff. “We are here this morning to say no to that. “This picketing is just for one day and after today, if the federal government and the companies do not budge, we will declare a total lock down of the sector,’’ he said. In Abakaliki, Ebonyi, the story is not different, as the labour also shut down the head office of the EEDC in Abakaliki. Chanting various protest songs, the workers besieged the head office of the distribution company as early as 8a.m. The workers were led in the protest by the NLC State Chairman, Mr. Ikechukwu Nwafor and hisTUC counterpart, Mr Elias Oduma. Speaking to news men, Nwafor said that due process was not followed in consonance with section 78 of Power Reform Act.
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/02/tariff-hike-nlc-shuts-down-electricity-distribution-companies-nationwide/