25 July 2015, Lagos — A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday dismissed a preliminary objection of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, challenging a suit filed by a lawyer, Toluwani Yemi Adebiyi, against proposed hike in electricity tariff across the country.
It also struck out an application seeking to discharge an order of the court restraining NERC in concert with electricity distribution companies from increasing electricity tariff pending determination of the suit.
NERC had filed a preliminary objection challenging the locus standi of the lawyer to file the suit. The commission had also argued that the suit disclosed no reasonable cause of action, and that the applicant failed to comply with relevant provisions of the law, as the suit was wrongly instituted.
Besides, in the motion to set aside the interim order against electricity hike, NERC had equally argued that the lawyer misrepresented facts before the court, and misled the court to grant same.
Justice Mohammed Idris in his ruling held that from the processes before him, the defendant (NERC) failed to comply with the mandatory provision of Order 29 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules to the effect that such objection must be filed within 21 days after service.
He objected with NERC’s counsel that the provision was discretionary, adding that the operating word “Shall” makes it mandatory for the court.
*Mohammed Shosanya – Daily Trust