The House of Representatives has directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to halt the planned increase in electricity tariff.
The directive was given at a public hearing involving relevant stakeholders conducted by the House Committee on Power on Tuesday.
The Chairman of the Committee, Magaji Da’u Aliyu, faulted the NERC and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) over the planned hike saying, proper consultation was not conducted before going public. He said the power sector operators and regulatory agencies would not be allowed to charge Nigerians different tariffs for electricity usage based on locations.
Aliyu insisted that electricity tariffs should be uniform adding that the use of power is the same in all parts of the country.
He said: “It has to be uniform because the poor Nigerian in my village is the same poor Nigerian that is paying power in Nnewi or Ado Ekiti. People will not understand; you have to do a lot of media work for people to understand what you mean.”
“Let me assure you and the minister that we are here to support this government to achieve its objective. We are not against a cost reflective tariff; we are only calling on the government to do the necessary things before this kind of thing is brought out and we have mentioned them.
“If you can see, there are so many unresolved questions; I pity the Discos, there are locations that they cannot even go to collect the tariff. They have a lot of debts, but we have to do it logically to ensure that … I’m sure all we’ll get feedback from Nigerians,” he added.
Darkness across Nigeria as national grid collapses again
The national grid on Thursday experienced its first collapse in 2020 resulting in blackout across the country.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) confirmed the development in a statement on its Twitter page which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
“There was system disturbance which occurred at about 12.34 p.m affecting some parts of the country.
“As at 1:10 p.m, supply was restored to Abuja and most parts of the affected areas. TCN is still working to completely restore and stabilise the nation’s grid,” it said.
Ikeja Electric (IE) which also confirmed the grid collapse in a statement on its Twitter account, said another collapse of the grid occurred at 2.15 p.m after the previous incident.
“Dear customers, the outage you are experiencing is due to a system collapse of the grid which occurred this afternoon at 12:36 p.m. All parts of IE’s network are affected.
“Another system collapse was recorded at 2.15 p.m today. Restoration efforts are ongoing. Kindly bear with us,” the electricity distribution company said.
NAN reports that the national grid collapsed more than 10 times in 2019.
Uzodinma issues order freezing all Imo bank accounts
The governor-elect of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has issued an order freezing all bank accounts belonging to the state government with effect from January 14, 2020.
According to an ‘Order of Post No Debit’ issued by Director-General, Hope Uzodinma’s Campaign Organisation, Chief Cosmas Iwu, to all financial institutions and the Accountant-General of Imo State, no bank is to honour any transaction from the government of Chief Emeka Ihedioha or his officials.
The document, which was issued on January 14, 2020, titled ‘Order of Post No Debit on all accounts of Imo State Government Effective Immediately 14th January 2020’, reads:
“Following the Supreme Court judgment of 14th January 2020, I am directed by His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma to take this to your authority/instruction to place a Post No Debit (PND) order on all accounts of the Imo State Government maintained in your various institutions.
“You are by this letter, directed to comply and await further instructions from the office of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Imo State.”
Senator Uzodinma was yesterday declared the dully-elected governor of Imo State following a Supreme Court judgment which sacked the administration of Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
Reps slams Buhari over transfer of NBET to finance ministry
The House of Representatives has described as illegal and unconstitutional, a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Limited (NBET) be domiciled under the Ministry of Finance.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Power, Mr. Aliyu Magaji (APC, Jigawa), declared that it should, therefore, be returned to the Ministry of Power.
The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Limited, which was created through the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, currently operates under the Ministry of Finance due to a recent order of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Reps committee overruled the president at a meeting between the Ministry of Power, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), electricity distribution companies (Discos) and other stakeholders at the National Assembly on Monday on the executive’s proposed electricity tariff increment.
The lawmakers explained that the law that put NBET under the power ministry has not been repealed and as such, it is illegal and unconstitutional to say it has been transferred to the supervision of the finance ministry.
Addressing the committee, acting permanent secretary of the Ministry of Power, Mr Ahmed Abdul, who represented the minister, Saleh Mamman, said they were informed of the presidential directive that NBET is now under the supervision of the Finance ministry.
Magaji and members of the committee, however, opposed the move which they described as illegal and unconstitutional.
“We are talking of the law; I am sure somebody must have misled somebody somewhere. This law (putting NBET under Ministry of Power) is yet to be repealed or reviewed. So, NBET still remains in the Ministry of Power as far as this parliament is concerned, unless we change the law.”
Meanwhile, the legislators also asked the regulatory agency to give account of the N213 billion Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF) disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to power distribution companies without commensurate result in services rendered to Nigerians.
The minister’s representative could not respond to the question and other raised at the meeting.