AGAINST the backdrop of the increase in new electricity tariffs effective from February 1, Labour and members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) would next Monday (February 8) hold a nation-wide mass protest and shut down the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Generating Electricity Companies (GENCOs) and the Distribution companies (DISCOs).
This is even as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday filed a contempt of court order against the trio at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba toldDaily Sun that Labour and its allies would picket the offices of NERC, GENCOs and DISCOs simultaneously.
“We have warned that our action would be spontaneous. So, next week Monday, the offices of NERC, DISCOs and GENCOs would be picketed nation-wide. Our members in the states will shut down the activities there while at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja, we will start with the NERC, then march on to all the GENCOs and the DISCOs and terminate at the National Assembly”, he said.
Wabba noted that Labour would employ all the legal and justifiable ways to ensure that Nigerians are not exploited by being manipulated to pay the new tariffs.
“This is why besides the protest holding next Monday, our lawyers were in court today to file the contempt of court order against NERC, the DISCOs and the GENCOs, because there is a substituting court injunction in May last year that no increment until the determination of the substantive suit.”
Besides, Wabba said: “There have been no significant improvement in service delivery, upon the fact that most consumers are not metered in accordance with the signed privatization Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of November 1, 2013 which stipulated that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers are to be metered.
He said the increment at this time negates the present biting and prevailing economic recession vis-a-vis an attempt to further impoverish the masses.
Meanwhile, reacting to the outcry over the new rates, the NERC Acting Executive Secretary, Tony Akah, insisted yesterday that new price regime would provide the companies with much-needed fund to improve services.
Akah, who spoke with journalists on the sideline of the budget defence hearing of the Ministry of Power and its agencies at the House of Representatives in Abuja, said the new price regime was of a performance contract the commission signed with the DISCOs. The NERC boss explained that under the new performance contract, DISCOs must provide transformers, meters, electric poles and other basic equipment to ensure customers enjoy quality service.