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Crucial government meeting looms amidst electricity tariff uproar

Labour Unions Threaten Prolonged Protests Unless Demands on Tariff Hike Reversal and Power Subsidy Restoration Are Met.

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The Federal Government is set to convene a pivotal meeting next week to address the escalating demands by organised labour for the restoration of power subsidies and the reversal of the recent electricity tariff hike, revealed Mrs Florence Eke, spokesperson for the Ministry of Power, in a statement. This announcement follows a disruptive protest staged by labour unions on Monday at the Federal Ministry of Power in Abuja, highlighting the intensifying standoff over the contentious tariff adjustments.

Despite the government’s pledge to engage in dialogue to address the concerns raised by labour unions, organised labour has issued a stern ultimatum, threatening to escalate protests indefinitely should their demands go unmet. The protests, which ground activities at the Federal Ministry of Power and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, also disrupted operations at distribution companies across the nation, underscoring the gravity of the labour unrest gripping the power sector.

The nationwide demonstrations were sparked by the government’s decision to raise electricity tariffs and eliminate subsidies, a move that has ignited widespread public outcry and labour unrest. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) had previously given the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) until May 12 to reverse the tariff hike or face further labour action.

Addressing the brewing tensions, spokesperson Florence Eke assured stakeholders of the government’s commitment to transparency and dialogue, promising a comprehensive stakeholder meeting next week to address the grievances. However, labour unions remain resolute in their demands, issuing a one-week ultimatum for the complete reversal of the electricity tariff hike, with further action threatened in the absence of concrete government action.

While the protests echo across the nation, labour leaders have reiterated the plight of ordinary Nigerians grappling with power poverty, citing the inequities in electricity supply and the burden of tariff increases. Despite assurances from the NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, regarding efforts to address concerns and enhance energy generation capacity, protesters remain steadfast in their demands for immediate tariff adjustments and the restoration of subsidies.

As tensions simmer and labour unions stand firm on their demands, the looming government meeting next week holds the promise of either defusing the crisis or escalating the standoff, shaping the trajectory of Nigeria’s energy policy and the fate of its labour movement.

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