12 June 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – A group, the Legal Vanguard for Rule of Law and Democracy at the weekend criticized the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola over recent comments he made that the Federal government was powerless in the face of the latest electricity tariff hike by electricity distribution companies.
The group in a statement issued on its behalf by its President, Mr. Toluwani Adebiyi, said it was very disconcerting the statement credited to Fashola in which he insisted that there was no going back on the electricity tariff.
It added that the public outburst of the minister despite mounting inefficient service delivery by the electricity companies smacked of “executive class hypocrisy,” adding that it can not intimidate the court.
According to the statement, “The minister who is a senior member of the Bar (SAN) who should be helping this government to respect the rule of law is found doing the contrary; we are taken aback that he is making such public boasts when final judgment on the matter before the court is just waiting to be delivered, he cannot do that to intimidate the court, neither can he pre-empt the mind of the court or dictate to the court.”
While reiterating the fact that the case is before a competent court of law with judgement soon to be delivered on the matter, Adebiyi said, “The increment is in violation of the enabling Act, for instance, Section 76(2) which allows only the licensee (Gencos, Discos) who are efficient to recover capital loss or bring increment.
“Have the licensee, the Gencos and the Discos, been efficient? When megawatts have been rising and falling, even to as low as zero Megawatt, just in May alone it fell below zero MW on six occasions, yet the Minister of Power is shamelessly boasting of an increment of which due process was not followed.”
Drawing comparisons to electricity supply in Nigeria and South Africa, the group said it is “laughable that the megawatts generated for a population of over 170million people have never gone beyond 5, 000 megawatts compared to South Africa of just about 50million, yet with over 44,000megawatts.
“This is in spite of about $20billion invested by the government between 2005 till date, with no significant improvement,” it added.