UPDATE: The real reason NLC staged nationwide protest

By Amako Nneji February 8, 2016 12:26

UPDATE: The real reason NLC staged nationwide protest

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, has on Monday, February 8, 2016 embarked on a nationwide protest against the recent increase in electricity tariffs in the country.

The protest comes on the heels of demands by the labour union to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to suspend the recent increase in tariffs.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who described the tariff hike as outrageous, said it was the fifth in a row since 2012 and unacceptable.

In Abuja, protesters could be seen carrying placards expressing their disdain for the tariff increase with some bearing such inscriptions as “We won’t pay more for darkness”.

Some of the workers came out as early as 7am for the protest, which started at the Labour House in the Central Business District, Abuja.

The protest march has also started in other major cities in the country.

More later…

See: Threat to shut down Nigeria deepens

UPDATE

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has on Monday February 8, 2016 described the increased electricity tariffs as “a painful pill,” appealing to consumers to “swallow” it.

Fashola’s statement comes amid the ongoing nationwide protest by workers under the aegis of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC which has grounded commercial activities in several cities in the country.

Fashola stated this in Lagos where he inspected some projects at the Alagbon Transmission and Distribution Complex maintained that the increase in tariff has come to stay.

“Importantly, I understand that people who have been disappointed over a long time will feel a sense of concern that again tariffs have gone up. But the truth is that these tariffs ought to have been there from day one. I don’t know why the government of yesterday was not courageous enough to tell us this was the price.

“It is a painful pill that I must appeal that we swallow. It is like quinine and malaria. It’s painful; it’s not sweet, I know that, but I do it because we are not left with many choices. This is the first major decision in power that this administration has taken. There are other problems.

“I can only appeal for some understanding and some trust that we do this in the best interest of our country. It is a hard decision, but I think down the line, we will have cause to look…”

When asked what the problems in the sector were, the minister said, “The problem is everywhere. The problem is with us. The problem is with gas. The problem is with transmission. The problem is with the way the privatization exercise itself was conducted.

“But as I have said before, I am not going to lament what has happened in the past. I am going to move on with it. So, the first move we have made when we accessed the situation, nobody was happy with it when we took over.

“This is a problem that has been here for 16 years, if we put it mildly. It is a problem that has been here 100 years ago, if we put it really extremely. I have been here for less than a 100 days, and I think we can solve this problem if you give us the tools that we need to do it. I think that this problem can be solved, and the day that we feel that it cannot be solved, I will gladly come and tell you that I don’t think it will work.” Fashola stated.