Activists, professionals move against electricity tariffs, petition UN

Prepaid electricity metres09 September 2013, Lagos – A coalition of human rights activists, labour, journalists and lawyers have moved against the recent increase in electricity tariffs and petitioned Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.

In the petition dated September 6, 2013 the coalition requested the Special Rapporteur to send “an urgent appeal to the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to delay the increased fixed rate electricity tariffs until the government is able to put in place mechanisms to ensure regular and uninterrupted electricity supply, and to carry out the impact assessment of the increase on people living in extreme poverty.”

According to the coalition: “By introducing fixed rate electricity tariffs, the government is complicit in violating the human rights of people living in poverty and undermining their personal development and prosperity.

“We believe that it is premature for the government to increase electricity tariff prior to taking effective measures to guarantee and ensure regular and uninterrupted electricity supply across the country.”

The coalition also requested the Special Rapporteur to visit the country to “conduct an in-depth investigation into the effects of the increased electricity tariff on people living in poverty,” and to urge the government to “take all reasonable measures to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of people living in poverty and social exclusion across the country.”

Signatories to the petition are: Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP; Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, WSCIJ; Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Lagos State Council; Nigerian Labour Congress’ NLC, Lagos State branch; Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja branch; National Union of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employees,NUFBTE; and Joint Action Front, JAF.

Others are: Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, WARDC; Women Empowerment and Legal Aid Initiative, WELA; Partnership for Justice, PJ; Campaign for Democratic Workers, CDWR; Democratic Socialist Movement, DSM; Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, and Education Rights Campaign,ERC.

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