By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS—NIGERIA Labour Congress, NLC, and its Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, alongside civil society allies, yesterday declared a nationwide protest for Monday, February 8, against the hike in electricity tariff by government, in spite of a subsisting court order and non-improvement in power supply.
During the planned protest, labour and its allies said all offices of the Distribution Companies, DISCOs; Generation Companies, GENCOs, nationwide and the office of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Agency, NERC, would be picketed.
Giving reasons for the protest, labour said: “The due process in the extant laws for such increment was not followed in consonance with section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
“There has been no significant improvement in service delivery. Moreover, the fact is that most consumers are not metered in accordance with the signed privatization Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, of November 1, 2013, which stipulates that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers are to be metered.
“There is a subsisting Court Order dated May 28, 2015, by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, in the case of Toluwani Yemi-Adebiyi versus NERC & Orders, that there shall be no further increment until the determination of the substantive suit. The increment at this time negates the present biting and prevailing economic recession vis-a-vis an attempt to further impoverish the poor masses.”
In a statement signed by Mr. Ayuba Wabba, factional President of NLC, labour decried what it described as the 45 per cent increase in the electricity tariff as announced by NERC.
According to the statement, the protest “is a nation-wide protest, meaning that the 36 states of the federation, including Abuja, will be involved in this action. Our members have been sufficiently mobilized and are ready to go. If you are an electricity consumer and you are not happy with the bills electricity companies serve you every month, you are invited to join this protest rally.
“The Abuja rally will start at Labour House, Central Business District at 8.00am before moving to the NERC head office at Adamawa Plaza, Plot 1099, First Avenue, Off Shehu Shagari Way, Central Business District. From the NERC office, the rally will roll to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company at Zone 4. The rally will mobilise from there to the National Assembly.
“This protest rally has become necessary after all effort to make NERC shelve the idea of increase failed. Indeed, rather than see reason with Nigerians, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing has been advancing spurious arguments in justification.”