Oscarline Onwuemenyi 03 February 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and Civil Society Organisations have described the decision by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to increase electricity tariff as “illegal, unfair, unjustifiable and a means to exploit Nigerians.”
The new power tariff came into effect on Monday, February 1.
In a communiqué released in Abuja and obtained by our correspondent, the groups said the increase could not be justified as there had not been any significant improvement in service delivery and most consumers do not have meters.
The communiqué was jointly signed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; President, TUC, Bobboi Kaigama; Co-ordinator, Electricity Consumer Protection Forum, Adeola Samuel-Ilori; a human rights activist, Toluwani Yemi-Adebiyi; and Publicity Secretary, Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights, Chinedu Bosah.
While addressing journalists shortly after its National Executive Council meeting in Lagos, the groups said the tariff increase was contrary to the agreement reached with the Federal Government during the privatisation of the electricity companies.
The unions said the agreement, as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding signed on November 1, 2013, stated that all customers must be metered within an 18-month gestation period before any tariff increase.
In addition, the groups said that there was a subsisting suit dated May 28, 2015 before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos in the case of Toluwani Yemi-Adebiyi versus NERC, in which the latter had been barred from increasing electricity tariff pending the determination of the suit.
The President, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Bobboi Kaigama, alleged that the government did not follow due process in effecting the increase.
Acting Chairman of NERC, Dr. Anthony Akah said last week that there was no going back on the new tariffs.
Akah had explained that revenue from the new tariff would enable the power distribution, generation and transmission companies to acquire needed infrastructure.