ABUJA, NIGERIA (AP) — Striking electricity workers shut down Nigeria’s power grid Wednesday, plunging the West African nation’s more than 200 million citizens into darkness for several hours, officials said.
The nationwide blackout began in the afternoon moments after the union called a strike to protest non-payment of benefits for former members and other issues related to working conditions, the Transmission Company of Nigeria said.
“Several 330kV transmission lines and 33kV feeder lines across the power system network had been switched off by the union members resulting in ... multiple voltage escalations at critical stations and substations,” company spokeswoman Ndidi Mbah said in a statement,
Mbah said talks with the union had been underway for several days but had not been fruitful.
About 12 hours after the company’s statement, power was restored in parts of the country after the electricity workers’ union said it called off the strike.
On social media, many people had voiced their anger and frustration over the strike, which they said worsened the plight of many businesses and homes already running on gasoline-powered generators as a result of inadequate electricity supply.
Such strikes in addition to the poor generation of power and the frequent collapse of the electricity grid have been blamed for the poor electricity supply that has been a decades-long challenge for many Nigerians.
As many as 92 million Nigerians lacked access to electricity in 2020, more than any other country in the world, according to the World Bank-backed Energy Progress Report 2022.