Nigeria: Senate passes electricity management bill

Senate chamber of the Nigerian national assembly.

Senate chamber of the Nigerian national assembly.

25 April 2015, Abuja — The Senate at its plenary on Thursday passed the Nigeria Electricity Management Service Authority Bill 2015.

When assented to by the President, the Act is expected to carry out the functions of enforcement of technical standards and regulations, inspection, testing and certification of all categories of electrical installations, electricity meters and instruments to ensure efficient production and delivery of safe reliable and sustainable electricity power supply and guarantee safety of lives and property in the Nigerian Electricity Supply industry.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly passed the NEMSA Bill after it has taken time to carry out clause by clause consideration of the Report of the Joint committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal matters. Commenting on the Bill, Senate President, David Mark said that while congratulating his colleagues for painstakingly passing the Bill, he hoped that it would be allowed to function by the operators.

“I would like to congratulate all of us for passing this Bill, but let me also say that passing this Bill is one thing, making the Bill function is an entirely different ball game.

“At the moment, the electricity industry is at its lowest ebb not only in terms of supply, but the way that the electrical technicians and technologists manage affairs and unfortunately most people just build houses, they don’t consult electrical engineers.

“They just get drafts men or whoever to do the drawing for them and by the time they wire the house, everything is a complete mess,” he noted.

Mark further expressed optimism that the passage of the NEMSA Bill would help to remedy the current power outages being experienced in parts of the country, adding the arrangement was designed to cure the fire from electricity.

In his reaction, sponsor of the Bill and Chairman of Senate Committee on Power and Steel, Philip Aduda explained that the passage of the Bill would boost the electricity industry and ensure technical standardization.

He said that from now onward, the regulators in the power sector would begin to ensure that they curb the issue of fire outbreak and other issues because of the current efforts to privatize the electricity industry. He added that once the sector is liberalized, there would be so many kinds of importations, which would give the industry a boost to check and certify various equipments that might be imported into the country.

Meanwhile The Senate also considered and approved the report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill 2015 The sponsor of the Bill, Umaru Dahiru explained that the Bill was very important to the administration of criminal justice in the country.

“You see, in the past, lawyers, courts handling two codes; the criminal code in the South and Penal Code in the North. What we have done now is to harmonize the two and right now we have one code and online application. This eases the application of the law, and the practice of law even for the courts.

“Presently, we can only apply it in the FCT and the Federal High Courts which cut across all the states of the federation and I think eventually, it is our hope states will adopt this bill that has now been passed by us.

“We now have a uniform criminal justice system across the country and it eases prosecution in all cases. The thrust of the bill is that we have one common code,” he remarked.

*Ignatius Okorocha – Daily independent

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