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Falana says Electricity price hike is illegal, threatens to sue FG

Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has threatened to drag the Federal Government to court over the recent increase in electricity tariff for Band A…

Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has threatened to drag the Federal Government to court over the recent increase in electricity tariff for Band A customers in Nigeria.

Falana who disclosed this while speaking about the issues in the power sector on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, said the Federal Government and indeed, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, operated outside the law in increasing the electricity tariff.

Falana declared that electricity subsidy was non-existent and alleged that the government was trying to raise funds for cash-strapped Discos.

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.

“Electricity subsidy ended in 2022. The government is making Nigerians pay for the inefficiency and incompetence of those managing the electricity sector.

“I have studied the provisions of the Electricity Act of 2023 and cannot identify the role of the minister of power with respect to the increase in electricity tariff.

“That is the exclusive responsibility of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. And going by the law, the increase can not be justified under the Electricity Act, specifically, section 116 of the Act provides that a licensee that operates efficiently shall be allowed to recover part, or full cost of its business activities.

“There is nobody who can say today that the DisCos are operating efficiently in Nigeria to that extent. The provision of the law has not been met.

“Secondly, in order to increase electricity tariff in the country, the proposal from the licensee (DisCos) shall be published in the federal government gazette and Newspapers that have wide coverage in the country for the purpose of alerting the consumers and other stakeholders in case they want to raise objections,” the SAN said.

While noting that the stakeholders had 30 days to raise objections, according to the law, Falana said those objections must be considered at a public hearing by the commission.

“It is when there is an agreement substantially that the proposal would be allowed to increase electricity tariff,” he said.

Falana advised the Federal Government to rethink the new electricity policy and revert to the status quo, adding that it would impoverish the masses even more.

“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 N1.6 trillion, whereas the destination is N3 trillion.

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

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