ABUJA, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thousands of Nigerian workers have taken to the streets in the country’s capital to express their anger at a 45-percent increase in electricity prices.
The tariff hike in electricity prices, which came into effect on February 1, prompted some 3,000 Nigerian workers to stage a protest in the capital, Abuja, on Monday.
The protesters slammed the National Electricity Regulatory Commission and accused it of colluding with power generation and distribution companies.
According to Nigeria’s Power Minister Babatunde Fashola, the increase in tariffs was aimed at improving power supply in the country.
“The surest way not to have power is to oppose the implementation of this tariff order,” he said.
Organized by the country’s two main labor unions, the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress, the Monday protest is seen as the first challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policies since he took office in May, 2015.
“In this very hard economic situation, it is difficult for Nigerians to swallow this very bitter pill… these tariffs should be halted,” said Ayuba Wabba, the NLC president.
Similar demonstrations were also held in the country’s commercial capital, Lagos.