Eletricity tariff hike: NLC, TUC picket NERC, TCN, DisCos nationwide

Living up to its threat, the Organised Labour Monday called for the complete reversal of the power sector privatisation and recovery of all public electricity assets sold off.

The duo of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) put up the demands while picketing the headquarters of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) over hike in electricity tariff in Abuja.

The protesting workers carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘We are not generator Republic’, ‘IMF, World Bank, leave Nigeria Power Sector alone’, ‘Let the poor breathe’. ‘Give us affordable and constant light’, among others.

…Their demands

Addressing journalists, NLC President Joe Ajaero described the privatisation of the power sector as a colossal failure.

“We are very serious about our demand that NERC and TCN reverse the recent tariff hike. The tariff is killing. It is killing businesses and Nigerians. And as part of our protest, we have asked electricity workers under our centres to cut off power supply in all NERC and TCN offices across the country. Please review the current tariff, it is not workers’ friendly, it is not acceptable,” Blueprint reports Ajaero as saying.

“Workers are hit hardest by the increase in electricity tariff. Unlike business-people, wage earning workers cannot adjust their income when the costs of utilities are increased. This stagnancy in wages amidst increases in electricity and refined petroleum products push workers over and beyond the limits of sanity and survival. 

“Small and medium scale businesses which accommodate millions of workers in the informal economy are severely affected by increases  in energy costs. Many of such businesses are forced to shut down thud ballooning Nigeria’s unemployment market. The ancillary cost in crimes and social unrest is a daily living experience on our streets,” he further said.  

 Also, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NERC had recently announced hike in electricity tariff across the nation from N65/kwh to N225/Kwh.

The organised labour had rejected the increase in the electricity tariff and therefore called for a reversal.

Ajaero said Organised Labour in Nigeria  is demanding  the complete reversal of the power sector privatisation and the recovery of all public electricity assets.

The NLC helmsman,  therefore, said Nigeria workers rejected the recent increase in electricity tariff and the associated upgrading and downgrading of customers from one Band to another.

Ajaero further called on government to respect the September 2021 agreement with Labour that reinforced in 2023, agreement that government must halt further increase in the tariff of public utilities until certain conditions were met.

He said that this include the review of the privatisation exercise, de- dollarization of gas supply to electricity generation, and distribution of pre-paid meters to all electricity consumers in Nigeria, among others.

The NLC president also noted that before the increase in electricity tariff, NERC would have called for a stakeholder meeting for proper consultation.

…NERC lauds labour

Addressing the picketers, NERC Chairman Sanusi Garba commended Labour for its peaceful demonstration.

Garba said: “We have taken input from your demands related to the affordability of the tariff issued by the commission, we have also listened to you and we have listened to the concerns of Nigerians.

“I want to assure you that we will make adequate representation on the policy side on the issue of affordability of tariffs.

“We also took note on your call for the diversification of energy sources and I will like to say that the Zukeru 700 mega watt power plant is already on.”he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the organised labour also went to the Ministry of Power and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).


Demonstrating their anger, the Kano state chapters of the  NLC and TUC mobilized to shut the NERC and Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) over the tariff hike.

NLC vice chairman in the state, Comrade Awwalu Yakasai, led the labour unions to  picket the companies to press home their demand for a tariff reversal.

Yakasai said: “We are not doing this for ourselves but for Nigerians because Nigerians are crying and not happy over the increment when there is even no stable power supply.

“The increment was wrong. We demand reverse of the increase otherwise we will take action.

“The first action is the picketing of the NERC and KEDCO, but the next action will be worse than this.”

In a similar position, the TUC chair, Comrade Mubarak Yerima, said: “We have picketed the headquarters of NERC and DisCos. We are hoping for good feedback from our national body.

“Once they give us directives that negotiation has started, we will halt the decision. But if not we will continue and move to the next stage.”


It was the same story in Bauchi state where the unions and their members gathered at the entrance of the main office of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDCO).

Like other states, they stopped workers in the electricity distribution company from attending to customers.

The TUC and NLC also replicated same action at the NERC and TCN offices.

They wielded placards with various inscriptions; “NLC/TUC Says No To Exploitation,”  “No Segregation in Power Supply,” and “No More Band A, B, or even Z.”

Addressing NLC members, the state chair, Comrade Dauda Shuaibu, said  the union’s SWC held a meeting in Abuja April 30 and wrote to the DisCos to return to the old tariff regime.


From Kaduna, Kaduna state capital, Blueprint reports that the unions stormed the headquarters of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company(KEDC), during which NLC chair, Comrade Ayuba Magaji Suleiman and that of the TUC,  Comrade Alhassan Danfulani,  called for immediate reversal of the tariff.

They condemned what they called  “segregation” by the electricity sector through class differentiation in supply. 


In Edo state, the organised labour picketed the head office of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC)  and  called on electricity consumers  to join  in the protest for a price reversal.  

Led by the state NLC chairman,  Comrade Odion Olaye, they  also sealed off the office of the NERC  located on Akpakpava Road. 

Olaye, who said the picketing was in compliance with the directive by the national leadership of the NLC, described the exercise as successful. 

On his part, the Zonal Organising Secretary, Edo/Delta Zone of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Comrade Nash Shuaibu, lamented the negative impact of the tariff  hike on its members.

Shaibu said: “The environment is no longer conducive for us to work, and it is as a result of this hike in tariff. We have cried to the Congress to help us because electricity workers are really dehumanized.” 

And in a statement by its Ag. Head, Corporate Communications,  Mrs Evelyn Gbiwen, the BEDC acknowledged the NLC’s action, saying “the safety and well-being of our employees and customers is our top priority.”


Also in a similar action, the Ekiti state chapter of the NLC and the TUC stormed the premises of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), expressed dissatisfaction at the deplorable state of electricity supply in the country and the ridiculous hike in the electricity tariff.

Speaking with journalists Monday  in Ado-Ekiti, NLC secretary in the state,  Dr Israel Taiwo, alleged that the distribution companies were oppressing  the masses through their constant hike in electricity tariff.

“Wages are not increasing, but electricity tariffs  are increasing, the irony of the matter is that if Disco has been distributing this power as necessary, we will not care about the payment of the fees. However, what we observe in this country and Ekiti state in particular, is that disco is not servicing us, we are living in perpetual darkness, we are the one providing power for ourselves.

“When you raise eyebrow on what you’re been charged on monthly basis, what the Disco will do is to disconnect you permanently. We are here today to say no to any hike in electricity tariff,” Taiwo said.

Also speaking, the TUC chairman, Comrade Sola Adigun, urged citizens to resist  government’s plan to increase electricity tariff.

“Why we came out this morning is to stop this move (hike of electricity tariffs by the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies.

“The NLC and TUC as the voice of the voiceless will resist the unfavorable steps taken by the federal government. Electricity is what drives the economy, the federal government should do the needful,” Adigun said even as the union appealed to Nigerians to remain calm while they continue to protect the interest of the people,” he said.


In Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state chapters of the NLC and TUC cordoned off the offices of the NERC and the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) as early as 7.am, wielding placards and chanting solidarity songs.

While they met an empty NERC office, they, however ordered the EEDC staff out and sealed up the place.

The NLC chairperson in the state, Professor Ogugua Egwu, said Nigerians were tired of the inhuman policies of some government officials against the poor masses.

“We picketed NERC and EEDC offices and we made sure that the few people we saw were ordered to leave their offices. We made sure all offices were under lock and key. The managerial staff were not seen, perhaps they knew the organized Labour was coming with force. We are insisting that the poor must breathe and they must reverse the new electricity tariff which is to the tune of over 300% when workers salaries have not been increased in the past 5 years. The minimum wage is now a dead wage. The PMS pump price is alarming and they now want to increase electricity tariff. We say it’s not going to work”, the NLC chairperson said. 

Also speaking, her TUC counterpart, Comrade Chidi Igboji, said the Nigerian people were ready for a showdown with any government official who wants to worsen the current suffering of Nigerians. 

“Nigerians especially workers can no longer afford the prices of goods in the market, fuel price is almost N1000 per litre and NERC wants to impose another suffering in Nigerians by increasing the fuel pump price. We cannot allow this to happen. We must subject them to reverse it or this kind of action will continue,” Mr Igboji stated.


And reports from Ibadan, Oyo state, said the NLC picketed the offices of the IBEDC and NERC in  a protest which started around 7.50am from the Lister House headquarters of the electricity company at Orita Adeoyo junction axis of Ring road, and grounded operations at the office for hours.

Led by the state NLC chairman, Comrade Kayode Martins, the protesting NLC members expressed their dissatisfaction with the hike in the electricity tariff stressing that the hike will add more to the suffering in the country.

From the IBEDC headquarters, they headed for NERC office, Magara area of Iyaganku GRA Ibadan, after which they moved to the Dugbe IBEDC main office where they were joined by some members of the public chanting songs against the hike in the electricity tariff.

At the IBEDC and NERC offices, the protesting NLC members forced the staffers to vacate the premises while customers left upon sighting the labour union leaders and members.

Speaking on the protest, Comrade Martins said:  “The step taken by the NLC is to send signal to the concerned authorities on the recent hike in electricity tariff.

“They should please ease the burden on the Nigeria citizens. They have removed subsidy on virtually everything that makes life worth living for the citizens. The recent removal of subsidy electricity is another debacles.”

 Martins added: “Living in Nigeria today is no longer easy. They should please make the atmosphere conducive for the common man.”

It was the same story in Lagos where the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IEDC) was forcefully and the NERC were forcefully shut by the unions, who like their counterparts, sought a reversal to the old tariff regime.

About Moses John, Abuja, Bashir Mohammed, Kano, Mohammed Lawal, Bauchi, Patrick Ahanor, Benin City, Ojo Oladele,Ado-Ekiti, AbdulRaheem Aodu, Kaduna, Amarachukwu EgwuAgha, Abakaliki, and Bayo Agboola, Ibadan

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