Nigerians protest harsh electricity policies, task Fashola to scrap service charge

*Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Power, Works & Housing.

*Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Power, Works & Housing.

14 November 2015, Abuja – Members of the Electricity Consumer Protection Forum, a nongovernmental organization, NGO, on Thursday at Ikeja, Lagos, welcomed new power minister, Babatunde Fashola, with a protest walk against proposed hike in electricity tariff.

Mr. Fashola, the immediate governor of Lagos State, was on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, sworn in as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Members of the NGO who worked from Ikeja roundabout to Lagos State House of Assembly and Government House, Alausa, carried placards with various inscriptions, demanding an end to what they termed obnoxious policies of the electricity distribution companies nationwide.

“We say no to any electricity tariff increase; Service charge is a calculated financial slavery; Distribute prepaid meters; and Stop estimated bills, among others, were some of the inscriptions.

The peaceful protest, supervised by police, drew solidarity from most Nigerians standing throughout the long stretch of Obafemi Awolowo Road, Ikeja.

The NGO, in a letter to President Buhari, through Akinwumi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, said their protest walk was to draw the president and the new minister’s attention to the pressing electricity needs of Nigerians.

The coordinator of the group, Adeola Samuel-IIori, identified Nigerians’ electricity challenges as astronomical charges through estimated bills, and the non-provision of prepaid meters to electricity consumers as agreed in the privatisation MOU.

The group, in their letter, also demanded the abolition of the N750 monthly service charges and the reacquisition of the whole national electricity infrastructure.

Mr. Samuel-IIori said their demand for the Federal Government to take-over the power infrastructure stemmed from the fact that no visible improvements have been experienced in the sector managed by the private sector.

He also urged government to reappraise the privatisation MOU, which according to him did not protect Nigerians.

Biodun Bamgboye, permanent secretary, governor’s office, who received the group on behalf of the governor, commended them for the peaceful protest.

He said the government understood the sacrifices of Nigerians and promised to forward their letter to the Federal Government.
*Olisa Egbunike – Premium Times

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