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Senate rejects hike in electricity tariff, petroleum product, declares war on security

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.NBA threatens lawsuit against DisCos


Ignatius Okorocha, Abuja



As the nation marks workers Day on, the  Nigerian Senate has condemned the current move by the Ministry of Power and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission ( NERC) to increase tariff in electricity  and petroleum product in parts of the country.


Speaking at the resumed sitting of the Senate on Tuesday after its six weeks recess for the celebration of Easter and Sallah, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio lamented and  condemned the looming increase in electricity tariff and sudden hike in the price petroleum product occasioned by scarcity.



He said,”We also witnessed the massive, fiery carnage on the East-West Road in Rivers State, which claimed five lives and caused destruction worth billions of Naira.


“Additionally, other issues such as the increase in electricity tariffs and petroleum product prices demand our attention. These incidents remind us of the urgency and gravity of the challenges we face as a nation.


“But what can we learn from these incidents? The loss of our soldiers reminds us of the grave threats we still face from insecurity and terrorism. The tragic explosion in Port Harcourt, claiming innocent lives and causing widespread devastation, highlights the urgency of addressing safety measures and ensuring the well-being of our citizens.


“The increase in tariffs and prices emphasizes the pressing need to address issues of affordability, inflation, and the overall well-being of our economy.”


Continuing Akpabio noted,” These events, among others, reinforce the fact that our nation is confronted with multifaceted challenges. They highlight the urgency and gravity of the issues we must confront, calling for our collective efforts to find sustainable solutions. As representatives of the people, it is our duty to address these challenges head-on and work towards a better future for all.


“Let us also not forget the importance of cooperation with our constituents. We were elected to represent their voices, hopes, and dreams. It is through our engagement and partnership with them that we can truly make a meaningful impact on their lives and the development of our nation.


“The National Assembly can only fly with two wings. Therefore, both the Senate and the House of Representatives must collaborate and cooperate and provide the wings for the National Assembly to fly and lift Nigerians up. We must at all times collaborate and cooperate with the other arms of government, without compromising our Constitutional duties, in order for our democracy to thrive.


“As senators, our efforts must be focused on restoring hope, righting wrongs, and upholding our commitments to the well-being of our people. Together, fueled by a renewed spirit of fraternity, unity, and solidarity, we must move forward and cooperate generously for the common good. Throughout history, the spirit of cooperation has brought about tremendous progress. Let us pool our resources, talents, and ideas, while respecting our differences and convictions of conscience.


“At the same time, let us not forget those trapped in the cycle of poverty. Our fight against poverty and hunger must be total and relentless, addressing its root causes and restoring dignity to the marginalized. His Excellency, President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, His Excellency Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, and many fellow Nigerians are working tirelessly to tackle this issue. It is our duty to support and amplify their efforts. Let us support the Renewed Hope Agenda.


“I am confident that we, as senators, can make a difference. We have been entrusted with an important role, and now is the time for courageous actions and strategies to drive this role. Together, let us implement a culture of care and an integrated approach to combat poverty, restore dignity to the downtrodden, and protect our precious natural resources.


“In conclusion, let us approach the work ahead with unwavering determination and a deep sense of responsibility. Once again, let us be reminded that the Nigerian people have placed their trust in us, and it is our duty to honor that trust by working tirelessly for their well-being and the progress of our nation.”


However, The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, has given the Federal Government and Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) a seven-day ultimatum to reverse to the old electricity tariff or face a lawsuit.

The chairman of the branch, Mr Seyi Olawunmi, said this at a news conference on Tuesday in Lagos.

Olawunmi described the increase in the electricity tariff by almost 300 per cent as not only unreasonable but also insensitive.

He said the National Electric Regulation Commission (NERC) order in respect to the tariff hike was not in line with the current economic realities of an average Nigerian.

He said the branch would seek appropriate remedies in the court if the Federal Government and concerned individuals failed to reverse the illegal electricity tariffs within seven days.

Olawunmi noted that NERC in December 2023, issued a new Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2024) which indicated a purported cost-reflective tariff chargeable by the various Discos.

He explained that large chuck of the electricity tariff was reportedly absorbed by the Federal Government under a subsidy arrangement.

The chairman said that the purported subsidy had reportedly been removed by the Federal Government, leading to an over 300 per cent increase in the electricity tariff payable by the end-user.

“We view this sudden astronomical increase in the end-user tariff irrespective of the technical arguments preferred in justification, as utterly exploitative and non-reflective of the current economic hardship that the masses are going through.

“The inflation and the depreciation of the Naira has affected their services that it is practically impossible to remain on the old tariff and electricity in Nigeria is not well priced.

“We, therefore, demand immediate stop to the illegal implementation of the N225 per kWh imposed on the so called band A customers at the discretion of both the Discos and NERC without any empirical basis.

“The classification into band A or B or C or D or E should be scrapped and it is either the Discos are guaranteeing 24 hours supply for all or they are not.”

Olawunmi said the government and the Nigerian people can not continue to subsidise their inefficiency in the name of band A or B or C etc.

“If the government fails to reverse the illegal hike within seven days, we will be left with no choice than to seek appropriate remedies in the court of law,” the NBA Chairman said.




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