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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Minister of Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba and the Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Professor James Momoh to immediately reverse the unlawful, unjust and unreasonable increase in electricity tariff, which reportedly occurred in December 2022.”
Following reported approval by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), 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.
In its letter dated January 7, 2023 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “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.”
SERAP said, “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.”
According to SERAP, “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 letter read in part: “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 7 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.
“Access to affordable electricity services is a prerequisite for improving the condition of people living in poverty. It is a means to generate other important services that mitigate poverty, bearing in mind that access to electricity facilitates the eradication of poverty.
“The hike in tariff would increase financial burdens for socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians and further marginalize and disproportionately affect them, and exacerbate their vulnerability to discrimination.
“Successive governments have failed to increase power generation and provide Nigerians with regular and uninterrupted electricity supply, with many electricity contracts shrouded in secrecy, and trillions of Naira going down the drain”.
The group also said, “Your government also has legal obligations to ensure that socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians including the 133 million the NBC documents as poor enjoy non-discriminatory access to basic household services including electricity.”
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