Monday, 8 February 2016

Awka Shutdown as NLC, CSO protest increase in electricity tariff

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

Awka the capital city of Anambra State was recently shutdown as Organised Labour leaders, Civil Society Organisations, and other electricity consumers, joined their counterparts nationwide on a peaceful protest against the increment of electricity tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Distributors.

The protesters, learnt, marched from Government House through Amenyi, St. Patrick Cathedral, Reagina Caeli junction to the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) head office at Ziks Avenue, Awka, chanting various solidarity songs with placards of different inscriptions.

Speaking to newsmen, Anambra State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Jerry Nnubia, lamented that the increment would only subject Nigerians to more difficult situation.

According to Nnubia, “the increment did not follow due process. We have a subsisting court order restraining the power distribution from increasing the tariff for now. We equally had Memorandum of Understanding that within the gestation period of privatization that electricity consumers will be provided with prepaid meters but that has not been done. But rather they resorted to estimated billings whether electricity was used or not”.

He added that at the twilight of the past administration, the Federal Government approved about N18 billion for manpower and infrastructural development but the country was yet to see any result, even as he wondered why the entrepreneurs, who took over the power sector, would increase the tariff when they have not invested into the sector.

“The increase is illegal and unlawful and we are saying no to it. We are already been exploited in the country and are in pains because of the economic hardship in the country. So we will not accept the tariff increase”, Nnubia hinted. reported that some of the placards they carried read: “Nigerian masses are suffering; no increment for now,” “Electricity tariff hike must follow due process” and “ We say no to high tariff,” among others.



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