Nationwide Blackout as Labour Unions Force Shutdown of Nigeria’s Power Grid

The action, led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), marks the beginning of a widespread industrial strike protesting the Federal Government's proposal for a N60,000 minimum wage

Lagos, Nigeria – June 3, 2024: Nigeria plunged into a nationwide blackout early Monday morning following labor unions’ complete shutdown of the national power grid.

The action, led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), marks the beginning of a widespread industrial strike protesting the Federal Government’s proposal for a N60,000 minimum wage.

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In a statement released on Monday, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) confirmed that the grid was deliberately shut down by workers at approximately 2:19 am.

TCN spokesperson Ndidi Mbah detailed the events leading up to the blackout, emphasizing the aggressive measures taken by union members to enforce the shutdown.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria hereby informs the general public that the labor union has shut down the national grid, resulting in a blackout nationwide.

The national grid shutdown occurred at about 2:19 am this morning, June 3, 2024,” the statement began.

Mbah recounted a violent incident at the Benin Transmission Operator under the Independent System Operations unit of TCN, where operators were forcibly removed from the control room.

“At about 1:15 am this morning, the Benin Transmission Operator reported that all operators were driven away from the control room and that staff who resisted were beaten while some were wounded in the course of forcing them out of the control room. Without any form of control or supervision, the Benin Area Control Centre was brought to zero,” she stated.

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The statement further listed other transmission substations affected by the shutdown, including Ganmo, Ayede, Olorunsogo, Akangba, and Osogbo.

It was also noted that some transmission lines were opened as part of the union’s activities, exacerbating the power crisis.

On the power generation front, TCN reported that several generating units were forced to shut down, leading to system instability.

“The Jebba Generating Station was forced to shut down one of its generating units while three others in the same substation subsequently shut down on very high frequency”.

“The sudden forced load cuts led to high frequency and system instability, which eventually shut down the national grid at 2:19 am,” the statement added.

Efforts to recover the grid commenced shortly after the shutdown, with TCN initiating recovery procedures from the Shiroro Substation to supply bulk electricity to the Katampe Transmission Substation.

However, these efforts have been continuously obstructed by union activities. “At about 3:23 am, TCN commenced grid recovery, using the Shiroro Substation to attempt to feed the transmission lines supplying bulk electricity to the Katampe Transmission Substation. The situation is such that the labor union is still obstructing grid recovery nationwide,” Mbah said.

The industrial action by NLC and TUC has drawn support from various sectors, including academic staff, banks, and other unions, escalating the pressure on the government.

The strike is in response to the Federal Government’s proposed N60,000 minimum wage, which the unions argue is insufficient given the rising cost of living and inflation rates.

The grid shutdown has had immediate and widespread effects, causing disruptions in daily activities, business operations, and essential services across the country.

As the TCN works to stabilize the grid, there is growing concern over the economic and social impacts of the prolonged power outage.

The NLC and TUC have vowed to continue their strike until their demands are met, setting the stage for a potentially protracted standoff with the government.

The Federal Government, meanwhile, has called for dialogue to resolve the impasse, though initial meetings have ended in deadlock.

This unprecedented grid shutdown underscores the critical importance of electricity to Nigeria’s infrastructure and the far-reaching consequences of labor disputes on national stability.

As the situation develops, the nation watches closely, hoping for a swift and amicable resolution that will restore power and address the grievances of the labor unions.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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