The Kaduna Chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, TUC, and labour union members in the state on Monday insisted that the electricity distribution companies across Nigeria must reduce tariff and provide adequate electricity before charging high prices.
The labour unions who joined their counterparts across the country to protest against the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, expressed worry that Nigerians are paying for electricity not supplied.
The members of the labour unions as early as 7 a.m. stormed the zonal headquarters of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company(KEDCO) and locked the gate.
The labour union members, who chanted solidarity songs in between speeches, vowed to continue the protest until the federal government reverses the tariff increase which came into effect on Monday, 1 February.
The former deputy president of the NLC, Issa Aremu, who led the labour unions in the state to picket the Kaduna electricity distribution company, said it became necessary after all efforts to make the federal government to shelve the idea of the increment failed.
According to him, Nigerians are paying more than the electricity they consume, and wondered why the federal government should increase tariff when the supply has not improved.
They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently revisit the report of the 2014 national conference and implement the holistic recommendations for the power sector instead of allowing the same unhelpful posting of high tariff by underperforming generating and distribution companies.
The labour unions also want the president to urgently review the privatization contracts between the federal government and GenCos and DisCos and give them a two-year time-frame to stabilize and provide efficient power supply to Nigerians before any increase in tariff can take place.
While lamenting that the increment at this time negates the present biting economic recession, the unions said there has been no significant improvement in service delivery since the privatization of the power sector.
Apart from the zonal headquarters of Kaduna Electricity Company, Kaduna Electric, KE, and other four district service stations in the state were also picketed.
The offices picketed are Rigasa, Kawo, Makera, Barnawa district stations, which are the major operational offices of the electricity distribution company within the metropolis.
Members of NLC and TUC at exactly 7am arrived the zonal office, asked all the staff and security to leave and then closed the main entrance with padlock.
In chat with our correspondent via phone, the Kaduna NLC Chairman Adamu Ango said the action taken by labour was in line with the planned protest against the recent hike in price of electricity tariff across the country.
According to him , the labour will ensure that Nigerians get value for the services they pay for.
“We have closed the zonal office now and we are moving to Kawo, Kakuri, Barnawa and Kawo electricity distribution offices to close them,” he informed.
He, however, said while members of the labour union in the state are ready to ensure that the hike in electricity charges are reveresed, he urged members of the public to support the labour action in the interest of a better service delivery to Nigerians.