27th August, 2010
Across section of Abuja residents are counting their losses following the nationwide blackout, which occurred on Wednesday as electricity workers embarked on strike.
It will be recalled that workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) on Wednesday embarked on a nationwide strike to press for the payment of their monetisation arrears and other entitlements.
They said that the strike was to compel government to implement the 150 percent increase in their salaries and to pay their monetisation arrears, which had been outstanding since 2003.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) check revealed that the residents, who are mostly traders and artisans, were unanimous in their call for governmentâ€™s intervention on the blackout.
Speaking on the issue, Mrs. Tayo Olaiye, a tailor at the Banex Plaza, said that the blackout caused her thousands of naira, as she had to use her generating set all day.
“It is not easy at all, we are running the shop with generator, which carries only four sewing machines, it can not even carry pressing irons,” she said.
Similarly, Mr. Chidi Udeoke, a welder at the Jabi motor park, said that the strike had many effects, adding that “it affected the cost of fuel in the black market.”
Udeoke, who said that the blackout was not very different from the epileptic power supply, said that if it had persisted many businesses in the Abuja metropolis would have shut down.
He said that the blackout was a negative development that would have undermined government’s desire to boost power supply in the country.
In the same vein, Mr. Chukwuemeka Diala, a GSM technician, in Wuse Market, said the blackout resulted in a boost in his business as “many people trooped into my shop to charge their mobile phones.â€™â€™
Diala, however, said that the effect of using generating sets all day,“damaged my work tools, as it has caused me more than the gains I made in a day to fix my machines.â€™â€™
Meanwhile, Mrs. Effuru Igbo, General Manager, Public Affairs of PHCN, said the strike had been called off following a truce reached between the Federal Government and the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE).
Igbo, who expressed regret over the inconviences the blackout caused Nigerians, said power supply would be restored before the the end of Thursday.
She said that workers had resumed work, while the transmission stations were all back to work.
Earlier,Â Mr. Temple Owirima, Zonal Organising Secretary of the Union, told NAN that the conditions under which the strike was called off included the immediate payment of salary arrears to the workers.
Owirima said that the disbursement of funds would be concluded within a week, while the outstanding 137 percent pay rise agreed in May would be discussed within the stipulated time.
He also said that Federal Government had promised to review and address the issue of the regularisation of appointments of more than 10,000 casual workers of PHCN.