BREAKING: Workers stranded as labour pickets Jos DisCo, NERC


Members of the Nigerian Labour Congress in Plateau State and the Trade Union Congress on Monday blocked the entrance of the headquarters of Jos Electricity Distribution Company in Jos, the state capital.


The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission offices located at the Gold and Base axis in Jos were also picketed by the union members, leaving their workers stranded.


The State Chairman of the NLC, Eugene Mangji, who led the union members, told The PUNCH in Jos that the action was in compliance with the directive of their national secretariat aimed at forcing the authorities to reverse the recent hike in the country’s electricity tariff.


“We have shot down the NERC office at Gold and Base. Right now, we are the JED headquarters at the Ahmadu Bello Way. We will continue until the right thing is done,” the NLC chairman stated.


The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and its Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterpart had earlier given the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, till May 12 to withdraw the recent hike in electricity tariff or face unprecedented industrial action.


The ultimatum was issued in a joint letter to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, dated May 3, 2024, and copied to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, the Ministers of Labour and Power, and the electricity distribution companies, DisCos, among others, Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo, President of NLC and its TUC’s counterpart.


The letter read: “This is to refer you to our May Day address where we expressed grave concerns regarding the recent announcement of an astronomical hike in electricity tariff across the nation from N65/kWh to N225/Kwh by your commission.


‘’We believe that this decision is not just morally reprehensible considering the difficulties Nigerians are faced with currently, but it blatantly disregards fundamental principles and statutory obligations.


‘’It is a slap in the face of justice and fairness, and we will not stand idly by as the masses and workers are subjected to such unacceptable exploitation.


“As the electricity sector regulator, it is imperative that your commission grasps the weight of its responsibilities. NERC’s role entails the regulation of electricity tariffs in the country, a duty outlined in explicit detail within the statutes governing the commission.


“Yet, with this recent tariff hike, which you have consented to, it is evident that the Commission has forsaken its duty and abandoned the people it was meant to protect to the fat cats in the electricity industry.


“We are miffed that NERC has become a tacit collaborator in crafting the oppressive pricing regime being perpetuated against Nigerian workers and people. The Laws that set up the commission mandate it to act as an unbiased ombudsman in the electricity industry.


“Unfortunately, the reverse is the case as it has acted in cahoots with the Distribution Companies, DisCos, and the Generating Companies, GenCos, to promote their nefarious market practices.


“The announced tariff hike not only defies the established procedure mandated by law but also tramples upon the rights of Nigerian citizens. It is a flagrant abuse of power and a clear violation of the trust bestowed upon your commission by the Nigerian people. Such actions will not be tolerated, and we refuse to accept them as the new norm.


“Nigerian workers and masses led by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, stand united in denouncing this injustice. We must defend the rights of our fellow citizens against exploitation.


“Therefore, we demand an immediate reversal of the hike in electricity tariff to N65/kwh, immediate cessation of the discriminatory practice of segregating electricity consumers into arbitrary bands, and restoration of the supremacy of the statutes governing the conduct of operators within the electricity industry.


“We give you until Sunday, May 12, 2024, to comply. Failure to do so will result in swift and decisive action on our part as we will not hesitate to mobilise our members and occupy all NERC’s offices and those of the DisCos nationwide until justice is served.”

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