Organised labour begins protests over increase in electricity tariffs Monday

Organised labour begins protests over increase in electricity tariffs Monday
February 04 19:39 2016

The Organized Labour and its allies have announced plans to embark on nationwide street protests on Monday against the 45 percent increase in electricity tariffs imposed on consumers by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

A statement issued by the president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba on Thursday, said the protests would involve the NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the civil society.

“It is a nationwide 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 statement said.

The statement said the rally would 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, and roll to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company at Zone 4 and to the National Assembly.

The NLC president said the rally became necessary after all efforts to make NERC shelve the idea of the increase failed.

“Indeed, rather than see reason with Nigerians, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing has been advancing spurious argument in justification,” he said.

According to the statement, the following are the reasons for the protest:

· 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 28th May, 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.