*Owerri Residents Lament*

There is total black-out in Imo State, as the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and all its affiliate unions in the state, embarked on strike on May 2, accusing the Imo State government of sponsoring thugs to attack Workers during the May Day celebrations.

The strike is already taking its toll on the citizens of the state, as business are paralyzed. The economy is also on a down-slide.

Flights to and fro the Imo Airport,Owerri have also been halted leaving hundreds of passengers stranded as aviation workers joined the strike.

Our correspondent who went round Owerri metropolis on Friday, observed that the strike is taking its toll on the people.

Some owners of small scale businesses in the state, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the power-cut has crippled businesses and affected sales.

John Ucheoma, a beer parlour owner at Egbu Road, Owerri, said the number of his customers has dwindled because of the power outage.

“I have resorted to the use of generators. But how long would it cool my drinks? The cost of petrol is high. We buy at N270 per litre and I cannot be running generator all the time to cool my drinks and service my customers” he said.

Greg Dike, an Owerri based printer, said the power outage in the state has had adverse effect on his business, stating that if the strike continues next week, he will close his shop.

“Cost of running my printing machines with diesel or petrol is exorbitant. When there is power supply, we make good gains. It is not the case for now.

“The strike has affected our operations and increased cost of production. Labour and the state government should resolve the matter immediately” he said.

Some residents of Owerri metropolis complained said the strike is needless, urging the state government to dialogue immediately with Labour in the state to resolve the crisis.

“Keeping the entire state in darkness is an act of economic sabotage. I cannot remember the last time electricity workers joined the strike. It is only in Imo State, that power is cut off, whenever there is a rift between Labour and the state government.

“In those days, we cannot it is unheard of. Electricity workers hardly go on strike. They only do so, only when it becomes expedient” said Obinna Eke, a car shop owner.

It was observed that night activities have come to a halt in the state capital, as many fear that the insecurity in the state, which has abated in recent times may plummet in the face of the total black out.  


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