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Electricity Subsidy Non-Existent, FG Raising Funds For Cash-Strapped DisCos — Falana

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria threatened to approach the courts to seek redress for Nigerians.


FILE: Femi Falana

 

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, says the Federal Government through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) plans to extend electricity tariff hike beyond Band A consumers to other Nigerians categorised under other bands.

Falana, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said the recent tariff increase for Band A consumers by the government cannot be justified under the Electricity Act, 2023. He threatened to approach the courts to seek redress for Nigerians.

 

 

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria argued that the Federal Government had already removed electricity subsidy in 2022 and so the government, by the new tariff hike, is making Nigerians pay for the inefficiency and profligacy of those managing the electricity sector.

 

 

NERC had on April 3, 2024 raised electricity tariff for customers enjoying 20 hours power supply daily. Customers in this category are said to be under the Band A classification. The increase will see the customers paying N225 kilowatt per hour from the current N66, a development that has been heavily criticised by many Nigerians, considering the immediacy of the tariff hike and the current hardship in the land.

The Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu subsequently said the new electricity tariff hike would only affect only 1.5 million of the about 12 million consumers in the sector.

However, Falana declared electricity subsidy as non-existent, and alleged that the government is trying to raise funds for cash-strapped electricity distribution companies (DisCos).

Falana said, “Under that law, there are certain steps to take and we are going to embark on those steps tomorrow (Monday) which is to raise serious objections with respect to the impunity that has characterised the recent increase.

“At the appropriate time if there is no response, we will have to go to court because the government had warned, the minister had warned that the increase this time around will only fetch the government or the discos N1.6trn whereas the destination is N3trn.

“So, the poor people that he (the minister) is talking about, the other bands, very soon, the government is going to extend the increases to them so that the N1.4trn the minister is talking about will be recovered.

“They (the government) are increasing tariff to assist the cash-strapped discos majority of which have now been taken over by the banks and AMCON, and the banks and AMCON have no competence to run electricity companies.”

Falana knocked the government for being insensitive to the plight of Nigerians who are still grappling with the economical impact of petrol subsidy removal and the collapse of the foreign exchange windows, the two policies of the President Bola Tinubu administration which have resulted in unprecendented high cost of living.