Electricity Tariff Should Be Increased After Criminalising Estimated Billing, Says Gbajabiamila

A file photo of Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has rejected the proposed increment of electricity tariff in the country.

His reaction came one week after Channels Television reported that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved the immediate review of electricity tariffs across the country.

In a series of tweets on Friday, Gbajabiamila believes the right time to increase electricity rates is when the proposed amendment to the act criminalising estimated billing is signed into law.

He promised to meet with the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, as well as other stakeholders to ensure the proposed increase was made on a practical basis.


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The Speaker said, “There is no guarantee that after any electricity tariff hike the DISCOs will not continue with the nefarious practice of bills estimation or provide uninterrupted power supply.

“I believe the National Assembly should ensure that any increase in electricity tariff if at all, should be cost-reflective and not just a whimsical increase with no empirical basis.”

“Also, any such increase should only be made after the proposed amendment to the law criminalising estimated billing is signed into law.

“I intend to meet and discuss this sequence and other conditions with the Attorney General of the Federation and other relevant authorities,” he added.

In a series of documents dated December 31, 2019, NERC had announced the plan to increase electricity tariff effective January 1, 2020.

A review of the new amount to be paid by various categories of electricity consumers shows an increase that ranges from 59.7 per cent to 77.6 per cent.

Consumers classified as residential (R1) were, however, excluded from the review as the N4 per kWh they pay was left unchanged.

The development affected customers captured in the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) spread across the country such as Abuja DISCO, Benin DISCO, Enugu DISCO, and Eko DISCO.

Others are Ibadan DISCO, Ikeja DISCO, Jos DISCO, Kaduna DISCO, Kano DISCO, Port Harcourt DISCO, and Yola DISCO.

The decision, however, sparked an outcry in the country, forcing the electricity regulatory body to shift the implementation of the review until April.

NERC Chairman, Professor James Momoh, told reporters on Monday that the commission would engage the public on the planned review in the next three months, before deciding on any implementation.

He also said NERC would begin the regulation of estimated billing by electricity distribution companies who fail to provide meters for their customers.

Gbajabiamila Commiserates With Kaduna State Govt Over Gas Explosion

 

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila on Sunday expressed shock and sadness over the gas explosion incident in Sabon Tasha, Kaduna.

The incident, which occurred at a gas shop, claimed the lives of several people including the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, Prof. Simon P. Mallam, and destroyed properties worth millions of naira.

While expressing sadness over the incident, Gbajabiamila said: “It is with shock and sadness that I received the news of the gas explosion incident that claimed the lives of some Nigerians that included Prof Simon Mallam, the Chairman/CEO of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission.

“While I sympathize with the State government, the survivors and the families of those that died during the explosion, I also pray for the repose of the souls of those that lost their lives to the explosion.

“I also want to assure them that they are not alone in this trying times of theirs,” Gbajabiamila said.

Gbajabiamila Sympathises With Akesan Market Fire Victims

 

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has sympathised with the government and people of Oyo State over the fire incident that gutted the Akesan Market, in the ancient town of Oyo.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker said he was shocked by the incident.

Gbajabiamila expressed regret over the early morning fire outbreak that claimed the means of livelihood of many traders.

“It is with heavy heart that I received the news of the fire outbreak that gutted the popular ancient Akesan Market in Oyo.

“I commiserate with the victims of the fire for the disruption of their economic activities as a result of the unfortunate incident.

“Being a historic ancient market and very dear to the people of Oyo State, I also empathise with the Alaafin of Oyo, HRH. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi over the incident.

“I want to appeal to the people to remain calm and law abiding as the government of the state looks into the situation with a view to bringing succour to the victims, meanwhile the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Management alongside the lawmaker representing the area, Rep. Akeem Adeyemi will wade in to mobilize relief materials,” the Speaker said.

I Was Not Elected To Fight ‘Buhari’, But Collaborate – Week In Quotes

 

As the year enters its final days, events across Nigeria and the world tend to take a different turn.

So much has been said within the course of the passing, here are some of those comments that give us an idea of what has transpired and leaves us room to project what possibilities await us in the coming week.

1. I wasn’t elected to fight the Executive but to collaborate.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says contrary to popular opinion, the current National Assembly is not a rubber stamp.

2. Nobody should pay N50 charges on POS transactions.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) clarifies the issue of payments of N50 charges by merchants who use Point of Sale (POS) machines for cashless transactions, insisting that nobody should pay extra on goods and services.

3. Terrorism is greatest challenge facing ECOWAS.

President Muhammadu Buhari says the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is confronted with the greatest challenge of terrorism.

4. I wish I knew how to relate with death.

Actor, Kunle Afolayan mourns late actor, Samuel Akinpelu, aka Alabi Yellow.

5. I have directed the State Security Services to comply with the order granting bail to the Defendants and effect their release.

The Federal Government reveals that the order to the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to release the duo of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and Omoyele Sowore is in compliance with the bail granted to them by the Federal High Court.

6. The only thing is to thank Nigerians, they made this happen they should not relent.

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, celebrates as he departs the DSS office in Abuja on December 24, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, thanks Nigerians following his departure from the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS).

7. Wherever there is disorder, you cannot kill corruption.

President of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) Global, Matthew Ashimolowo says that corruption can only be reduced to its barest minimum if there are order and a system that kills the act.

8. Buhari is a democrat, he respects the constitution.

The Presidency reiterates that President Muhammadu Buhari is not seeking a third term agenda as suggested by uninformed commentaries.

9. The United States itself has a lot to chew solving its own problems not to talk of poke-nosing into another country. Nobody has appointed them the policeman of the world. Let them face their own issue.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina has criticized the United States’ government for placing Nigeria on the Special Watchlist of countries violating religious freedom.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina criticizes the United States’ government for placing Nigeria on the Special Watchlist of countries violating religious freedom.

10. I am APC Leader in Edo, Oshiomhole remains suspended.

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki insists that suspension of the party’s national chairman Adams Oshiomhole from the state chapter of the party remains and it is in the best interest.

11. I sit here with a clear conscience.

President Muhammadu Buhari says he is doing his best to protect the fundamental human rights of citizens in the country.

12. I am Nigeria’s artiste of the decade.

Nigerian singer and songwriter, Ọlawale Ọlọfọrọ, better known as Brymo, stirs a debate on social media following a self-declaration that he is the nation’s artist of the decade.

13. He can play anywhere, he can play the whole midfield.

Solskjaer speaks highly of Pogba after the World Cup winner was in action for United for the first time since late September as a substitute in their chastening 2-0 defeat at Watford on Sunday.

14. I have no feud with anybody. I am more than that. I can’t engage in a feud with anyone.

Former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki relishes his air of freedom after spending four years in custody and is waxing philosophical about his ordeal in the last four years.

15. We call on the Federal Government to release other political detainees and criminal suspects in line with valid and subsisting orders of courts.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana asks FG to free El-Zakzaky, wife, others.

16. You may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things, but the Lord continues to love you.

Pope Francis ushers in Christmas on Wednesday for the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics with a message of unconditional love, saying “God continues to love us all, even the worst of us”.

Border Closure: FG’s Ban On Foreign Rice Yielding Positive Results, Says Gbajabiamila

 

The Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila has said the Federal Government’s ban on foreign rice is yielding the desired results.

Speaking in Lagos at his annual End of the Year Grassroots Empowerment Programme on Sunday, the Speaker said the masses are now forced to now consume locally farmed products, especially Nigerian rice following the closure of the nation’s land borders.

“I must say the impact of closing Nigeria’s borders to foreign rice is yielding results. I am sure so many farmers are now smiling to the bank.

“The volume of Christmas rice sales made by Nigerian farmers speaks to the emerging culture of eating what we grow,” a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker quoted Gbajabiamila as saying.

The lawmaker also reiterated the commitment of the Ninth Assembly to meet up the aspirations of their constituents.

READ ALSO: I Wasn’t Elected To Fight The Executive But To Collaborate, Says Gbajabiamila

In doing so, he noted that the legislature would continue to work with the executive arm to bring more developmental projects to them.

He however denied claims by some Nigerians that the current National Assembly is a rubber stamp of the executive arm, stressing that good collaboration between the two arms is always in the best interest of Nigerians.

“People, critics and people of other parties have said the 9th Assembly is a rubber stamp to the Executive. They may have told you that too.

“The fact is that the National Assembly is not a rubber stamp. This is a National Assembly that represents the interests of the people. The people of Surulere did not elect me to fight the Executive but to engage and collaborate with stakeholders to bring dividends of democracy,” he stated.

On the issue of the budget, he explained that the nation has returned back to the January to December budget cycle.

Exercise Higher Tolerance Before Industrial Actions, Gbajabiamila Tells Electricity Workers

 

In a bid to find lasting solution to the lingering electricity situation in the country leadership of the House Representatives on Thursday met with parties concerned in the matter.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, during the meeting appealed to the union to “exercise higher tolerance” before thinking of embarking on strike as their action could affect lives negatively.

Gbajabiamila added that the electricity workers should be included as a witness to its decision to shelve its industrial action so that it would ensure that all issues agreed on are implemented.

The Minister of Labour Chris Ngige; the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy Agba; officials of BPE and leadership of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) were also at the meeting.

READ ALSO: Reps Summon Labour, Power Ministers Over Planned Electricity Workers’ Strike

Gbajabiamila further pleaded with the leadership of the electricity workers to henceforth communicate to the House whenever there are issues that would lead them to embark on strike.

“From all indications, this matter will be resolved permanently. This matter was discussed on the floor of the House yesterday (Wednesday), and we decided that it will be addressed by the leadership, not by any committee, not because the committee doesn’t have competence, but because of the seriousness.

“This issue has unintended consequences on Nigerians. Within the hours you were on strike, a lot of things may have happened. But they may not be reported.

“Let me plead with the electricity workers that your power of tolerance should be higher than any of us because your work and what you do or fail to do can affect lives. You should be able to sacrifice more.

“We want to make that agreement a tripartite agreement and include the House of Representatives as part of it. We want to be part of the agreement as witnesses so that you can hold us accountable. That way, we’ll ensure that the government meets its part,” the Speaker said.

The Speaker also said the House would look at the possibility of amending the Labour Law so that the ministry of labour could be given powers to sanction erring employers of labour.

Earlier, the Minister of Labour told the House leadership that he was disturbed by the strike, saying the union did not duly notify his ministry about its planned action.

“I want to register my great displeasure at what has happened. This is because electricity is an essential service after the hospital. In fact, if you shut down electricity, you will end up killing people.

“It was unfortunate that they had to go on strike without involving us much on the issue. I didn’t find it funny that the whole economy was thrown into a gargantuan loss,” he said.

On his part, the Minister of State for Power, Agba said an agreement was reached with the electricity workers, which led to the suspension of the strike.

“We’ve sat and thrashed out the issues from 8.pm to about 2.am. We signed the papers and they suspended the strike. I assure you that this matter has been resolved and communique has been signed.”

Also speaking, the general secretary of the union, Comrade Joe Ajaero, noted that they informed the ministry of labour about the 21-day ultimatum and that no action was taken, saying they were left with no option than to embark on the strike.

“Ministry of labour has teeth, but it can’t bite. We want a situation where the labour law will be amended so that the ministry will have teeth to bite. The ministry will write employers of labour, but if they fail to obey, they can’t be sanctioned.”

Ajaero expressed doubts on government’s readiness to respect the agreement, but the Speaker assured that the House would do everything within its powers to see to the implementation of the agreement within the agreed stipulated time frame.

See more photos below…

N1trn Constituency Project Funds: Gbajabiamila Disagrees With ICPC’s Report

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has disagreed with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission’s (ICPC) report which claims that N1trillion has so far been appropriated for National Assembly constituency projects with little or nothing to show for it.

Gbajabiamila said his concerns are the unintended consequences to the report of the ICPC, which brought out the information.

READ ALSO: Reps Seeks To Abolish Acceptance Fee Into Tertiary Institutions

He added that the anti-graft commission should have taken advantage of the Freedom Of Information (FoI) Act, to conduct proper investigation to find out the actual releases before giving its report.

“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know the difference between monies budgeted and monies released,” the Speaker said.

The Speaker’s reaction follows the point of order raised by the House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, based on order 6 rule 1, 2, 3 & 4 on matters of privileges.

He noted that a comment was credited to President Muhammadu Buhari that N1 trillion was made available for constituency projects in the past 10 years without meaningful impact.

He added that the National Assembly doesn’t award contracts and has nothing to do with the execution of such.

According to Elumelu, no more than half of the amount has been released to the National Assembly in the last 10 years.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, also stated that it is misinformation to say it is N1trillion released for constituency projects when the National Assembly’s constitutional role is to make laws not execute projects.

Gbajabiamila Swears In Three Rep Members

PHOTO: House of Representatives.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has sworn in three members to replace those who had been sacked.

Gbajabiamila after the opening prayers at plenary on Tuesday called on the clerk of the House to swear in the new members, Rep. Chinedu Ogah, Rep. Obinna Chidoka and Rep. Samson Okwu.

Thereafter, the Speaker called for an executive session.

 

 

Details later…

Gowon Remains A Symbol Of National Unity – Gbajabiamila

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has described a former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, as a symbol of national unity.

In a message to mark the 85th birthday of the former Head of State, Gbajabiamila eulogised Gowon’s love for Nigeria and his belief in the oneness of the country.

One of the significant things which he credited to Gowon’s love for the country was his establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 1973.

The Speaker, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said “On this day, I join millions of Nigerians, and friends of Nigeria, to celebrate this icon and symbol of national unity as he marks 85 years on earth.

“In the years since he retired from active service, Gen Gowon has worked across the country to see to the establishment of peace and abiding prosperity and it is this work that will long be remembered as his greatest legacy.

“Nigerians will not forget in a hurry that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which worked to bring Nigerians together at a critical time in our history is the brainchild of this great Nigerian. Indeed, the history of our country will not be complete without a mention of Gowon.

“On this occasion of his 85th birthday, I join fellow Nigerians in offering special prayers to Allah to grant General Gowon continuous good health, protection and guidance”.

Budget Passage Will Prove Our Accountability To Nigerians, Says Gbajabiamila

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, says the early passage of the 2020 budget will prove that the 9th Assembly is accountable to Nigerians.

Gbajabiamila said this on Tuesday at a joint session of the National Assembly on the presentation of the budget estimates by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Appropriation Bill that Mr President has presented to us today is a statement of intent. The budget when enacted into law, will be proof of our priorities and a reflection of our values we hold.

“What are those values? Integrity, accountability in managing the affairs of the state and absolute commitment to the best interest of the Nigerian people,” he said.

“What are our priorities? Building an economy that provides sufficient opportunities for our people to achieve the dreams they hold dear, equipping our children with an education that prepares them for the challenges, protecting the rights of our citizens and securing them from internal and external aggression”.

Speaking further, Gbajabiamila vowed that the National Assembly will work to ensure “that this commitment is reflected in the 2020 Appropriation Act.”

Meanwhile, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan explained that the lawmakers are working towards passing the budget before the end of 2019.

He explained that the aim is to ensure that Nigeria’s budget cycle is returned to the January-December calendar year.

“The public, as well as the private sector, need a reliable budget cycle that is predictable and reliable for planning and execution of their financial policies and programmes.

“It is, therefore, necessary that the present cycle is changed to a January to December cycle. In this regard, the National Assembly and the Executive must work together to ensure the realisation of this important objective,” he said.

“In this regard, our committees will be expected to conclude their work on budget defence within October this year, the subsequent necessary legislative work will be carried out in November and December, leading to the eventual passage before the end of this year”.

Why Onyeama Did Not Appear Before Reps – Ministry

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reacted to allegations that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, ignored the summons by the House of Representatives.

In a statement on Wednesday by its spokesperson, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, the ministry stated that the minister could not have ignored invitations by the lawmakers to brief them on the spate of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa.

After a long debate on the issue at Tuesday’s plenary, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila noted that he was informed that the ministry failed to honour several invitations by the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yusuf.

He alleged that Onyeama also refused to respond when the leadership of the House stepped into the matter and warned ministers against shunning invitations by the parliament.

Gbajabiamila threatened that the House would invoke relevant sections of the Constitution against erring government officials, adding that he would report the minister to the President.

But in its response, the ministry stated that there was “no iota of truth whatsoever” in the claims by the Speaker.

It said, “The truth of the matter is that by a letter dated September 9, 2019, by the Chief of Staff to the Honourable Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was invited to a meeting with the Leadership of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 11.00 am in the Honourable Speaker’s Office.

“By letter dated September 10, 2019, the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote to the Chief of Staff to the Honourable Speaker, informing him that the Minister would be in the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at that time, and that he looked forward to a meeting at a time to be mutually agreed on.”

According to the statement, Onyeama and the ministry respected the institution of the National Assembly.

VIDEO: Speaker Gbajabiamila Teaches Secondary School Students In Katsina

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday, taught students of Government Pilot Senior Secondary School, Kofa Sauri, Katsina State.

The Speaker taught the pupils on the dangers of drug abuse.

This is part of his voluntary teaching exercise, which earlier commenced in his Surulere 1 Federal Constituency of Lagos State in 2017 when he was House Leader.

Gbajabiamila had earlier on Monday visited Katsina State to access the level of insecurity with a view to finding lasting solutions.

He also met with the State Governor, Aminu Masari, and visited some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at their camps.

See more photos below…