Tariff Hike: Organized labour in Ebonyi pickets EEDC, NERC offices

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From Chinedu Nwafor, Abakaliki 

Organized Labour in Ebonyi on Monday picketed the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company(EEDC) and National Electricity Regulatory Commission(NERC) offices in Abakaliki, capital of the state.

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The workers joined their counterparts across the country to protest the hike in electricity tariff.

They were led by the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) Chairman in the state, Ogugua Egwu and Trade Union Congress (TUC) Chairman, Chidi Igboji.

They visited the NERC office at Nsugbe street,  EEDC offices at Awolowo street and Town Planning Road beside Abakaliki Correctional Centre.

They blocked the NERC office at Nsugbe Street, Abakaliki, as early as 7:30am on Monday, chanting solidarity songs. 

Apparently aware of the picketing, the staff of NERC were not seen as their offices were under lock and key.

Undeterred by the absence of NERC officials, they still blocked the entrance gate of the NERC office for about an hour to ensure no one gained entrance into the premises.

They later proceeded to EEDC office at Awolowo Street, Abakaliki, where the offices were also seen to be under lock and key. 

However, they were still determined as they besieged the Awolowo EEDC office for an hour before they proceeded to the second office of EEDC located at Town Planning road, opposite Correctional Centre, Abakaliki, where EEDC staff were seen at their offices.

They immediately ordered them out of their offices and asked them to go home, maintaining that no work until their demands are met. 

Our Correspondent reports that the EEDC staff were immediately forced out of their offices by the Labour Leaders who quickly locked up the offices while chanting solidarity songs.

They were there for about an hours, making sure the EEDC staff left the premises and no one coming into the office before leaving the place.

Bearing placards, the workers chanted songs to express their displeasure at the hike in electricity tariffs.

Some of the placards read: ‘NLC say no to electricity tariff increase’, ‘NLC demands reversal of electricity tariff hike’, Nigerian Govt let the poor breathe and Nigerian reject electricity tariff hike’.

NLC Chairman, Mr Ọgụgụa Egwu described the increase as a reckless and wicked policy.

“We are here to tell the world that their heartlessness, recklessness and wickedness against ordinary Nigerians must be stopped. 

“We are here to say that the recent tariff increase for Band A from 65 naira to over N225 representing 340 percent increase must be reversed. 

“If it is not reversed by govt who have decided to sufferer us we must continue to picket all EEDC and NERC offices till the hike is reversed”, he said.

TUC Chairman, Chidi Igboji said the increase will lead to continued impoverishment of the poor masses.

“This increase is evil because it is meant to ensure that the poor masses will continue to be poor and we the organised Labor in Ebonyi state are saying no to this increase. What we are saying is that EEDC and NERC should let the poor breathe”, he said.

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