Protest Rocks Ibadan Over Hike In Fuel Price, Electricity Tariff

 

More reactions have trailed the recent increase in petrol and electricity tariff across the country, as students and civil society groups, on Tuesday, embarked on a peaceful protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The students under the umbrella of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), condemned the recent increases, stating that it is not in the best interest of Nigerians.

Armed with placards carrying various inscriptions expressing their frustration at the increment, the protesters urged the Federal Government to revert the policies in the best interest of the country.

Students protest increases in petrol price and electricity tariff in Ibadan, Oyo State capital on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

 

The protesters marched through Bodija and environs and ended the procession at the Federal Secretariat, where they addressed the press on the reason behind their agitation.

“We say no to fuel hike, we say no to increment in electricity tariff and other increments that affect Nigerian students and the masses.

“We have over 200 polytechnic campuses in Nigeria that are at home and angry that schools are closed,” a representative of polytechnic students, Olalere Opatunji, told Channels Television.

READ ALSO: Organised Labour Suspends Planned Protest In Rivers State

According to the Chairman, Joint Campus Committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mayowa Opakunle, students are the end-recipient of the increases and particularly, those who are into little businesses to earn a living.

“We are putting it to the Federal Government to put in place, the total reversal of the electricity tariff bill and the increase in premium motor spirit.

“We students are the end recipients, the majority of us are affected because we do small scale businesses to put ourselves in school and so many things we do to make sure we work and not become hoodlums,” he stated.

 

Mr Opakunle said that if a total reversal of these policies is not done soon, students across the country will shut down the economy.

“They should look into the total reversal of these policies that are against our survival and should consider us first before any action is taken. If eventually nothing is done, then we have a total shutdown of the economy.”

Meanwhile, the national coordinator of All Workers Congress and immediate past chairman of Trade Union Congress in Oyo State, Andrew Emelieze, said that the hike is coming at a time when Nigerians are yet to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is now a culture in Nigeria that every month we must increase the pump price of petroleum products, just like we have increased the price of electricity tariff.

“The Nigerian people are just coming out of a pandemic situation where lives have been made miserable for workers; private schools have not been open, hoteliers are not working, marketers have not been able to work this period, and what the President gives us as a gift, is to increase the pump price of petrol illegally.

Mr Emelieze added that: “We are giving until Monday between the NLC, TUC and the Nigerian government, to settle whatsoever they have and revert the price of petroleum products.

“If they don’t do that, Nigerian people are called upon to come out to the street and take their destiny in their hands, that is our resolution,” he stressed.

BEDC Decries Court’s Ruling On Electricity Tariff

Electricity, BEDC, Electricity TariffThe Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has criticised the judgement of a Federal High Court in Lagos which declared the present electricity tariff system being used by the 11 distribution companies in Nigeria void.

The Manager, Corporate Affairs, BEDC, Tayo Adekunle, stated this on Monday during an interview with Channels Television at the company’s headquarters in Benin City, the Edo State capital in south-south Nigeria.

He said that the court’s decision was inimical to the progress of the power sector.

However, a civil rights activist, Omobude Agho, has lauded the judgement of the court.

He accused the distribution companies of exploiting Nigerians with the new price regime.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had in an earlier interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, discredited claims that it flouted the court’s injunction on the tariff increase.

The commission noted that the lack of understanding of the privatisation and reform policy was responsible for the reactions that have trailed the electricity tariff increase.

Tariff Hike: NERC Insists Court Order Not Flouted

NERC-Abdulkadir-Shettima-Court-ElectricityThe Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said that it did not go against the court’s injunction on electricity tariff increase.

The Deputy General Manager, Head, Tariff and Rates of NERC, Mr Abdulkadir Shettima, said this on Sunrise Daily.

“We don’t think we did. In our understanding (of) the court order, the plaintiff  didn’t sue as a class action, he sued on his behalf.

“For instance I am a customer, you are a customer (and) nobody consulted me. I personally feel that action by the plaintiff is going to set the industry back, it’s going to put problems or delay in getting electricity,” he said.

Understanding The Policy

The NERC official told Channels Television on Monday that the lack of understanding of the privatisation and reform policy was responsible for the reactions that have trailed the electricity tariff increase.

He said that the commission was yet to receive a certified copy of the judgement, insisting that all the required processes in the law were followed.

“I think it is lack of understanding from the policy behind this privatisation, the reform, and the growth of the electricity industry.

“The point is that we believed the person sued in his own capacity and his tariff was not increased. So we don’t believe that we flouted the injunction,” Shettima said.