Nigeria labor unions protest higher electricity prices, disrupt work in some offices

(13 May 2024)

Abuja – 13 May 2024
1. Labour union members protesting, playing trumpet and singing
2. Various of protesters with signs, dancing, marching and singing
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Tommy Etim-Okon, 1st Deputy President, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria:
“Every protest have its own peculiarities, and when you look at this one, it is very special because it touches on the fabric of the economy because power is life, power is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. Getting Nigeria out of the woods, we must be able to have stable power supply.”
4. Various of protesters
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress:
“We have not come here to discuss the classical process of generating electricity and transmitting it. We have come here to tell you how Nigerians feel, we have equally come here to tell you that Nigeria can’t continue to increase tariff on 4,000 megawatts for 25 years.”
6. Various of protesters with signs
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress:
“Whatever we are going to get out of this will be for the betterment of every Nigerian, be they poor, the rich and the not too poor.”
8. Various of protesters singing solidarity songs
9. Mid of Nigeria Labour Congress President walking with other union members
Labour unions in Nigeria staged nationwide protests on Monday over recent increases in electricity prices following the removal of subsidies by the West African nation’s government.

The unions made up of government workers were picketing offices of public electricity utilities in major cities as they asked authorities to counteract price hikes that have worsened the country’s cost of living crisis.

Electricity rates more than doubled for some consumers in April, while the government will save at least 788 million US dollars in subsidies this year, authorities have said.

It is the latest measure by President Bola Tinubu’s government to cut costs as Africa’s most populous country struggles with declining revenue due to dwindling investments and chronic oil theft.

Protesting workers said they are frustrated that Nigeria’s chronically erratic power supply has not improved despite the higher prices.

Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, the umbrella body of the unions, told reporters in Abuja, the capital, that the country cannot continue to increase electricity rates and that union members were coming out to underline how Nigerians feel about it.

The protesting workers said they are also frustrated that Nigeria’s electricity supply has not improved even for the consumers who were asked to pay higher.

Nigeria suffers from a chronically erratic power supply because of corruption, such that many households and businesses go days without having electricity.

AP video by Dan Ikpoyi


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