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Nigeria heading for total darkness

Nigeria’s PHCN “’
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Abuja, Nigeria — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 18 November 2011 – It is only a matter of days before the entire country is thrown into total darkness, following a strike embarked on by workers in the Nigerian power sector.

Already, most states of the federation are in darkness with access to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) services across the country impossible as a result of the protest.

allAfrica.com reports that the workers, under the aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), have called the bluff of the management of the PCHN, which issued a threat to sack any worker who failed to report to work.

A notice issued by the PHCN management in Abuja yesterday reads in part: "It has come to the notice of management that some staff of PHCN have refused to come to work since Tuesday in protest against the deployment of military personnel to secure federal government’s assets and facilities across the nation, including PHCN installations.

“In furtherance of the foregoing, please be informed that any strike or threat of strike at this time violates Section 47 of the Trade Dispute Act and Section 9(1) of The Trade Dispute (Essential Services) Act.”

But speaking with “Leadership” at the PHCN headquarters, NUEE national secretary Joe Ajaero said the memo by the management of PHCN was baseless and would be disregarded.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Power noted that “the effort of one or two trade unionists to sabotage the ongoing electric power sector reform will not work. The nation cannot be held hostage any more by people working in cahoots with the electricity cabal which does not want improved power supply.”