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No national blackout in Nigeria due to workers’ strike, state electricity company refutes social media claims

IN SHORT: Unionists in Nigeria began a nationwide strike on 14 November 2023. But rumours that the strike would cause the national power grid to go down were false, the state electricity company said.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and their affiliates went on a nationwide strike on 14 November 2023, despite a court order restraining them from taking industrial action.

The strike followed an assault on the chair of the National Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, during a protest in Imo state in southeastern Nigeria on 1 November over unpaid salaries and other issues.

A post shared on Facebook in Nigeria on 14 November claimed that the country’s grid was set to collapse as unionised workers in the electricity sector withdrew their labour. 

“JUST IN: Nationwide Blackout As TCN Shut Down National Grid Over,” begins the message.

TCN is the Transmission Company of Nigeria, which – in addition to operating the national grid – transmits and helps distribute electricity from  power generation companies.

The post also claimed that a national blackout had occurred on 13 November at “around 11:20am”.

The post adds: “The national grid has been shut down by electricity workers resulting to a blackout following an indefinite strike declared by organized labour unions.”

The same claim appeared on Facebook here, here, here and here

But did workers at the transmission company shut down the country's power supply, threatening the national grid? We took a closer look.


‘False and totally misleading’

The transmission company denied this in a statement on its official X (the social media platform formerly known as Twitter) account on 14 November, saying, in part: “We hereby note that the nation’s grid is intact and supplying bulk electricity to distribution load centers nationwide.”

The company also dismissed a media report that one of its executives had signalled a national blackout due to the strike, saying this was “false and totally misleading” and could cause panic.

The country has not experienced a national blackout around 14 November.

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