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Members of the National Union of Electricity Employees converge in front of the building housing the Ministry of Power and the Transmission Company of Nigeria headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria
Union leaders suspended a major strike so the government could organize a response to their demandsImage: Sadiq Adelakun/Xinhua/picture alliance

Nigeria: Utility workers call off nationwide strike

August 18, 2022

Striking electricity workers temporarily shut down the power grid, plunging more than 200 million people into darkness for several hours.


Utility workers in Nigeria have suspended a nationwide strike that had thrown parts of Africa's most populous nation into darkness, a union leader said Thursday.

Striking electricity workers shut down the West African nation's power grid Wednesday, plunging more than 200 million people into darkness for several hours, but a long-term blackout, at least for now, has been averted.

The Nigerian government said it needed two weeks as it sought time to resolve the crisis, something union leader Joe Ajaero agreed to.

The National Union of Electricity Employees said the strike was to force the government to honor a 2019 agreement stating it would offer financial assistance to retired workers of a former state-owned electricity company.

On Wednesday, power cuts were soon reported in Lagos, in the northern city of Kano and in the oil hub of Port Harcourt.

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After a scheduled meeting late on Wednesday with the labor minister and other government representatives, the strike was "suspended," union leader Ajaero told the news agency AFP.

"Normal operation will be restored immediately. But if after two weeks nothing is done we will resume the strike," said Ajaero.

Nigeria has about 7,000 megawatts of electricity available but it distributes less than 4,000 because of a lack of technical capacity.

The national grid has also suffered many supply issues throughout this year.

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jsi/sms (AP, AFP)

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