Lagos, and most of the remainder of Nigeria, were without electricity in late October following a collapse of the nation’s creaking electricity system. The blackout was the fourth time this year that the system has failed.

The shutdown followed a trip at the Shiroro hydropower plant. The power supply problems have exacerbated the energy crisis in the country following a shortage of refined petroleum.

Energy supply problems are now having a serious impact on the Nigerian economy. Labour groups claim that energy shortages have led to the loss of 50 000 jobs. Both the Nigerian Electric Power Authority and the state-owned refineries are expected to be privatised before the end of 2001, when the government has completed a planned restructuring. The country’s president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has promised that power cuts will end by the beginning of 2002.