Workers at Nigeria’s power plants began an indefinite strike on Wednesday August 17 to demand compensation, plunging Africa’s most populous nation into darkness.
The National Union of Electrical Workers has called a national strike to force the government to honor the terms of a 2019 agreement to pay retired workers at the former state-owned power company.
“We have shut down all the power plants and factories in the country. Our members are currently on strike at power plants and facilities operated by the state-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said union president Joe Ajero.
He hinted that the strike, which has already plunged parts of the country of more than 200 million people into darkness, would only be called off if the government agreed to their demands, though vowed the union was open to negotiations. The Ministry of Energy actually convened a meeting with the central union.
Nigeria has 7,000 megawatts of generating capacity, but only 4,000 are being delivered to consumers due to technical problems, causing daily power outages.
Regular supply of gas to power stations is a major problem.
Many homes and businesses rely on diesel-powered generators, which increases operating costs.
An agreement was recently signed between the Nigerian government and the American company Sun Africa, which aims to install solar energy generation systems in ten locations that are poorly served by the national electricity grid. The project will be implemented with a loan of $1.5 billion from Exim Bank.