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Electricity tariff increase: You failed Nigerians, Falana slams Adelabu
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Tue, 30 Apr 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has passed a vote of ‘no confidence’ on the Federal Government, saying that the minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has failed Nigerians.

Falana was reacting to Adelabu’s appearance before the Senate to defend the increase in the electricity tariff and what Nigerians would pay on Monday.

The rights activists also claimed that the move is a policy imposed on the Nigerian government by the International Monetary Funds and the World Bank.

Speaking on the Channels TV show on Monday night, Falana said, “The Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu has failed to address the question of the illegality of the tariffs.

“Section 116 of the Electricity Act 2023 provides that before an increase can approved and announced, there has to be a public hearing conducted based on the request of the DISCOS to have an increase in the electricity tariffs. That was not done.

“Secondly, neither the minister nor the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission has explained why the impunity that characterised the increase can be allowed.”

Falana also expressed worry over what he described as impunity on the part of the federal government and electricity regulatory commission.

“I have already given a notice to the commission because these guys are running Nigeria based on impunity and we can not continue like this. Whence a country claims to operate under the rule of law, all actions of the government, and all actions of individuals must comply with the provisions of relevant laws.

“Secondly, the increase was anchored on the directives of the commission that customers in Band A will have an uninterrupted electricity supply for at least 20 hours a day. That directive has been violated daily. So, on what basis can you justify the increase in the electricity tariffs”, Falana queried.

Falana alleged that the Nigerian government is heeding an instruction given to her by the Bretton Wood institutions.

“The Honourable Minister of Power is acting the script of the IMF and the World Bank.

“Those two agencies insisted and they continue to insist that the government of Nigeria must remove all subsidies. Fuel subsidy, electricity subsidy and what have you; all social services must be commercialised and priced beyond the reach of the majority of Nigerians.

“So, the government cannot afford to protect the interest of Nigerians where you are implementing the neoliberal policies of the Bretton Wood institutions.”

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria accused Western countries led by the United States of America of double standards.

According to him, they subsidize agriculture, energy, and fuel and offer grants and loans to indigent students while they advise the Nigerian government against doing the same for its citizens.

Following the outrage that greeted the announcement of the tariff increase, Adelabu explained that the action would not affect everyone using electricity as only Band A customers who get about 20 hours of electricity are affected by the hike.

Falana, however, insisted that neither the minister nor the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has justified the tariff increase.

The senior lawyer said that Nigerian law gives no room for discrimination against customers by grading them in different bands.

He insisted that the government cannot ask Nigerians to pay differently for the same product even when what has been consistently served to them is darkness.

Following the outrage over the hike, Adelabu on Monday appeared at a one-day investigative hearing on the need to halt the increase in electricity tariff by eleven successor electricity distribution companies amid the biting economic situation in Nigeria.

However, Falana said that nothing will come out of the probe by the Senate.

 

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