Kaduna strike: We were forced to shut down – TCN

Nigeria's national electricity grid collapsed on Sunday, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said in a statement. Power outages in Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, are common, but a system collapse is unusual.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said it was forced to shut down its services to Kaduna State due to pressure from the labour union.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) declared a five-day warning strike with effect from May 16, 2021 in Kaduna State over sack of workers. To this end electricity supply to the state was disrupted on the morning of Sunday when the state started experiencing darkness.

Kaduna Electric, the distribution company (DisCo), that covers Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara states had announced earlier that the service interruption was as a result of the industrial action embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

A statement by the head, corporate communications, Kaduna Electric, Abdulazeez Abdullahi reads in part: “The Management of Kaduna Electric regrets to inform its customers in Kaduna State that the service interruption currently being experienced in the state is as a result of the industrial action embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“In compliance with the NLC directive, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN has knocked off all our 33KV lines in Kaduna State.

“Consequently, we are appealing to all communities, security agencies and vigilante groups to be vigilant so that men of the underworld will not cash in on the situation to vandalise power supply installations. Any suspicious movement around distribution sub-stations (transformers) should be reported to the relevant security agency.”

Newsmen report that in compliance with the NLC’s warning strike, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) had earlier directed its members to suspend services in Kaduna State with effect from May 16.

NUPENG’s general secretary, Mr Afolabi Olawale gave the directive in a letter addressed to petroleum tanker drivers branch of NUPENG on Wednesday.

Olawale said compliance to the directive was necessary for the successful execution of the campaign against alleged anti-labour practices of Kaduna State governor.

The union said NLC had directed workers in the state to totally withdraw services for five days with effect from May 16, 2021.

The directive was given following the sack of over 4,000 workers in the state.

Kaduna State NLC chairman, Mr Ayuba Suleiman had said the decision was taken during an emergency meeting in Kaduna with a delegation from the NLC national headquarters.

The union had accused the state government of ignoring due process in the recent disengagement of over 4,000 workers from local governments, state basic education board and primary health care agency.

A statement signed by TCN’s GM, public affairs, Ndidi Mbah, confirmed the situation, saying the ongoing industrial action by the NLC in the state resulted in the interruption of bulk electricity supply.

The statement reads in part: “TCN had resisted intense pressure from the Union yesterday, demanding that all 33kV feeders radiating from our substations within Kaduna State be switched off. Regrettably, the union functionaries returned today with similar demands amid palpable threats that could escalate and jeopardise national grid security. It was during this morning’s encounter that the system operators were forced to shut down the 33kV feeders from 6:36Hrs this morning. Before this, KAEDCO had earlier shut down its 11kV feeders, which it started de-loading from 3 am this morning.”

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