By Abdulwahab Abdulah
TWO United Nations special rapporteurs have queried the government of President Goodluck Jonathan “over the impact of the Multi-Year Tariff Order II (MYTO II) and its potential detrimental impact on the realisation of human rights of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria.”
The rapporteurs are: Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and Ms. Raquel Rolnik Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living, and on the Right to Non-discrimination.
Their intervention followed a petition last year by a coalition of human rights activists, labour, journalists and lawyers led by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP.
In the joint letter dated November 26, 2013, Ms. Carmona and Ms. Rolnik asked the Nigerian government to explain why “there is no functioning metering system in the country,” and expressed “grave concerns that the absence of functioning metering system limits the ability to accurately set prices for electricity and leaves electricity bills vulnerable to mismanagement and arbitrary decisions, disproportionately affecting people living in poverty.”
The two special rapporteurs also stated that “Certain groups already vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion, including women heads of households and persons living in informal settlements and in rural areas, may be especially affected by the rise in tariffs under MYTO II enacted by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on June 1, 2012.”
Last week SERAP received information from the offices of the special rapporteurs that “the government has chosen not to respond or engage with the concerns raised by them.”