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National Grid Collapses as Electricity Workers Join Mininum Wage Strike

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LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria has been plunged into a nationwide blackout after electricity workers shut down the national grid in compliance with a joint directive from the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, to cease work over the new minimum wage.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) disclosed this development in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Ndidi Mbah, on Monday, June 3, 2024.

According to the TCN, the national grid shutdown occurred at approximately 2:19 AM, following violent disruptions at several power facilities.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria hereby informs the general public that the Labour Union has shut down the national grid, resulting in blackout nationwide. The national grid shutdown occurred at about 2:19 AM this morning, 3rd June 2024,” the statement read.

The TCN detailed that the Benin Transmission Operator, part of the Independent System Operations unit, reported that workers were forcibly removed from control rooms, with some being beaten and injured.

“At about 1:15 AM this morning, the Benin Transmission Operator reported that all operators were driven away from the control room. Staff that resisted were beaten, and some were wounded in the course of forcing them out of the control room, leading to the Benin Area Control Center being brought to zero,” the TCN reported.

In addition to the Benin station, the Ganmo, Ayede, Olorunsogo, Akangba, and Osogbo transmission substations were also shut down by the labour union.

The disruptions extended to transmission lines, further complicating the power grid’s stability.

On the power generation front, several generating stations were forced to shut down units.

The Jebba Generating Station, for instance, shut down one of its units, with three more units subsequently shutting down due to very high frequency.

“The sudden forced load cuts led to high frequency and system instability, which eventually shut down the national grid at 2:19 AM,” the TCN stated.

Efforts to restore the grid began shortly after the shutdown. “At about 3:23 AM, TCN commenced grid recovery, using the Shiroro Substation to attempt to feed the transmission lines supplying bulk electricity to the Katampe Transmission Substation.

However, the labour union is still obstructing grid recovery nationwide,” the statement explained.

The TCN assured the public of its ongoing efforts to recover and stabilise the grid to restore normal bulk transmission of electricity to distribution load centres across the country.

“We will continue to make efforts to recover and stabilise the grid to enable the restoration of normal bulk transmission of electricity to distribution load centres nationwide,” the TCN concluded.

This power disruption follows the unions’ demands for a revised minimum wage, which have culminated in widespread industrial action affecting various sectors across the country.

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