Kaduna Thrown into Darkness as NLC Begins Strike

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Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) yesterday confirmed the shutting down of its operations in Kaduna state, throwing the north central state into total darkness.

The federal government-owned company noted that it was compelled to comply with the warning strike action called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) after an analysis of apparent threats to its power assets in the state.

A statement by the General Manager, Public Affairs of the company, Mrs Ndidi Mbah, made available in Abuja yesterday, while apologising for the blackout, noted that the TCN had turned down earlier demands for a shutdown, but noted that it later caved in to protect its assets from being compromised which will affect nationwide power supply.

Earlier, aviation workers had declared withdrawal of services from the Kaduna International Airport (KIA) effective Sunday midnight in solidarity with the striking workers.

The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), said the airport would remain shut for the period of the warning strike.

The NLC, Kaduna State Council, recently declared a five-day warning strike starting from midnight of yesterday, May 16, 2021, to protest the sack of over 4,000 workers by the state government.

Chairman of the labour union in the state, Ayuba Suleiman, maintained that due process was not observed in the disengagement of the workers from the local government service, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the primary health care agency.

On the implication of the shutdown, TCN stated that the action caused by the ongoing industrial action resulted in the interruption of bulk electricity supply within the state early in the morning.

“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’s functionaries returned today (Sunday) with similar demands amid palpable threats that could escalate and jeopardise national grid security.

“It was during this (yesterday) morning’s encounter that the System Operators (SOs) were forced to shut down the 33kV feeders from 6:36 hours this morning. Before this, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC) had earlier shut down its 11kV feeders, which it started de-loading from 3 am this morning,” the company stated.

The statement stressed that the power wheeling company was mindful of the inconveniences the situation would cause electricity customers within the state and prayed for a peaceful resolution between the disputing parties.

It noted that once the issues are resolved and it is safe to reopen, bulk power supply will be restored to its substations for Kaduna Disco to take to its electricity customers and asked those affected to bear with the TCN.