…Abuja, others thrown into darkness
By Cynthia Egboboh (Abuja), Ayuba Maffi (Bauchi), Aniefiok Udonquak (Uyo), Emmanuel Ndukuba (Awka)
Residents in areas serviced by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) have been thrown into darkness as a result of the ongoing strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliate unions.
Affected areas include the Federal Capital Territory, Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa states.
The NLC began a two-day warning strike on Tuesday to protest the hardship being experienced by Nigerians as a result of the petrol subsidy removal.
“The removal of fuel subsidy is a direct attack on the poor and working people of Nigeria. It is an attempt to impoverish our people further and make life more difficult for them,” said Joe Ajaero, NLC president.
AEDC management in a statement, said, “We are aware of the general power outage being experienced across our franchise due to enforcement by the NLC of the two-day warning strike embarked upon by the labour union. We apologise for any inconvenience you may be experiencing as a result of this, as we continue our engagement with key stakeholders towards minimising the impact of the strike on our customers.
It advised customers to take necessary precautions to manage the outage effectively. “Kindly unplug sensitive electronic devices and appliances from power sources pending the restoration of power. We will continue to provide updates on developments regarding the impact of the strike action on our operations through our official social media handles.”
In Akwa Ibom, the warning crippled government activities in Uyo, the state capital.
According to a check, all government offices, including the judiciary headquarters located along Wellington Bassey road, Uyo, did not open to the public.
The situation was the same at the civil service secretariat, along Abak road, as government workers stayed away from work.
In a post on his social media post, Sunny James, the NLC state chairman, said the strike was a success as workers complied with the order.
“A people united can never be defeated. This country must change for the better. Akwa Ibom workers on the march,” he said
However, the strike did not affect commercial activities as motorists and small businesses were in operation.
In Anambra State workers, workers deserted their offices in compliance with the labour.
Emeka Nwafor, the state chairman, alongside other labour leaders, while monitoring the strike, were seen posting warning notices on entrances to some ministries and agencies.
Addressing journalists after the exercise at Teacher’s House Awka, Nwafor, said they joined their counterparts across the country to compel the Federal Government to address their plights and the citizenry at large.
“As workers, we are also badly affected by the economic crisis in Nigeria as a result of the hike in the pump price of petrol, all in the name of subsidy removal.
“We had earlier written to the Federal Government to adjust our wages automatically in line with the existing economic realities, but that has fallen on deaf ears.
“It is over three months now that petrol subsidy had been removed and the price increased twice by over 300 percent; shifting from N187 to over N620 per litre, but salaries have remained the same.
“Workers and Nigerians at large, within this period have gone through excruciating times. It has been stories of mass suffering and life has been made almost meaningless to the common citizens,” he lamented.
“President Bola Tinubu led-Federal Government knows our demands, so he should without further delay, do the needful,” he added.
It was the same situation in Bauchi, as the labour locked the state secretariat and prevented people from gaining access.
Ibrahim Maikudi, the state chairman of the NLC, said that they locked the entrance of the secretariat by exactly 7:00am in response to the strike.
He said that, after going round the secretariat no single civil servant was found inside the secretariat offices.
“We have gone to the ministry of education, treasury, yankari, federal inland revenue service, water resources and other ministries but all the places were locked,” he said.
He further said “Only commercial activities are ongoing in the market within the state metropolitan. “There’ll be 100 percent compliance with the two-day warning strike in Bauchi State,” he said.
However, in Lagos, the nation’s economic capital, the strike recorded partial compliance as most government offices were opened, with public servants reporting to work. Also, commercial banks and other private offices were opened for business, with customers attended to.
Ajaero, in a statement on Tuesday evening, said the strike will continue on Wednesday, and urged workers to remain steadfast and determined.
“It is our civic duty to ensure that we are governed effectively and that those in government remain accountable to the people at all times,” Ajaero said in a statement.