By Frank Edima
The Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Cross River State Council, yesterday joined the rest of the labor movement in the nationwide protest against increased electricity tariff.
The protest which held along Calabar road according to the NLC, State Chairman, Comrade John Ushie, is to express their disapproval of the 45% increase in tariff by the distribution companies and to also let the government know how detrimental it is to the citizens.
According to him “…we came here this morning to protest the 45% increase in tariff by the PHCN. This was a decision taken at the National Executive council meeting of the NLC at Lagos on 29th January 2016. Now we are on a one day picketing to let them know that Nigerians are not happy with what is happening in the power sector…”
He further expressed his dissatisfaction with the privatization of the power sector. “They came up with the issue of privatization but Labor rejected it but government continued to enforce it on Nigerians that it is the best way to have light.
“We agreed that before now at the handing over of the power sector to the private sector within 18 months we will meter every Nigerian compound before payments starts. Now they are subjecting us to pay money for services that are not rendered…we cannot sit and Nigerians exploit Nigerians.”
They demand that there should be no discrimination in tariff, government should improve power supply before tariff increase, and that FG/DISCOS should follow due process in increasing tariff.
Due process entails that before NERC increases tariff, government, licensees and representatives of customers should meet.
According to the NLC State Secretary, Chief Ita Ayi, “In this case only the Ministry of Power and the licensees met and increased the tariff to the exclusion of the representatives of customers.
Responding to whether all the states in the country are part of the protest, the State Chairman said memo was sent to each state at the NERC level to mobilize their members and the civil society for the exercise. “If there is any state that is not participating in the national exercise, they will be disciplined”.
The protesters had placards with inscriptions like: “Electricity supply and accessibility is our right which neither government nor cartel can deny us.”
“No to estimated bills
“Discos should provide meters for all
“No to 45% increase in electricity bills
“No to the discrimination of customers (categorization),” among others.
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