BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has given President Muhammadu Buhari seven days to immediately reverse what it described as the “unlawful, unjust and unreasonable increase in electricity tariff”, which reportedly occurred in December 2022.
It stated that should there be no reversal of the increase within the said seven days, it would consider legal action against the government to achieve that purpose.
SERAP, therefore, asked the President to “direct the Minister of Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba and the Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Professor James Momoh, to effect the reversal.”
SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, in a statement on Sunday, made it clear that President Buhari should also “ensure the investigation of the spending of public funds as ‘investments and bailouts’ by successive governments to electricity distribution companies (DisCos) and generating companies (GenCos) since 2005, and prosecution of cases of corruption and mismanagement.”
Following reported approval by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, electricity tariffs were increased across DisCos in the country in December 2022.
Several prepaid customers have reportedly confirmed the increase. Both the Minister of Power and NERC have refused to confirm or deny the increase.
SERAP stated that, “The increase in electricity tariff would exacerbate the extreme poverty across the country, and undermine the ability of millions of Nigerians to satisfy basic human needs.
“The increase in electricity tariff failed to follow due process. It is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), the Electric Power Sector Reform Act and the country’s international human rights obligations.
“Millions of Nigerians continue to live in darkness despite the spending by successive governments of trillions of naira as investments and bailouts to electricity companies.
“The increase is unjustified, especially given the unreliable, inefficient and poor quality of electricity in the country. Rather than providing electricity discounts to poor Nigerians, successive governments continue to give bailouts to electricity companies.
“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest,” the rights group stated.