The Nigerian government on Thursday said striking workers in the oil and gas sector have cut off gas supplies to five major thermal power generating plants in the country.
The affected power stations are Egbin, AES, Olorunsogo, Geregu and Sapele.
It is also feared that the strike may affect the export of crude oil from Nigeria, which is Africa’s prime crude exporter.
Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, has meanwhile called on the workers to call off their industrial action in the interest of the nation.
Professor Nebo said in a statement released in Abuja that the effect of the workers’ action on gas supply to the power plants was massive.
The workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), are on strike over the inability of the government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to put in place a machinery to automatically fund the workers’ pension system.
Professor Nebo observed that the actions taken by members of NUPENG and PENGASSAN had cut off gas supply to major power stations thereby affecting electricity supply to Nigerians.
The strike has also affected Ghana which relies on gas from Nigeria under the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project to generate electricity, causing a major disruption in industrial production and domestic use.
The Minister gave the assurance that there were efforts to ensure a speedy and amicable resolution of the matter and appealed for the understanding of electricity consumers affected by the development.
While appreciating the concerns and fears of the workers, the Minister appealed to members of NUPENG and PENGASSAN to take into consideration the enormous damaging socio-economic effects of their action on the nation and return to work.