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SERAP Drags Buhari To Court Over Electricity Tariff Hike

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President Muhammadu Buhari has been charged to court over his failure to reverse the increase in electricity tariff, and to probe the spending of public funds as ‘investments and bailouts’ to DisCos and GenCos since 2005.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) filed a lawsuit against the Nigerian president, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC.

The electricity tariff was reportedly hiked in mid-December 2022, but both the Ministry of Power and NERC are yet to confirm the hike.

SERAP in the suit number FHC/L/CS/99/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, asks the court to “compel President Buhari to direct the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to reverse the unlawful, unjust and unreasonable increase in electricity tariff.”

The organisation had in a letter dated January 7, 2023, noted that the increase in electricity tariff would exacerbate the extreme poverty across the country, and undermine the ability of millions of Nigerians to satisfy basic human needs.

SERAP also asked the court to “compel President Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly investigate the spending of public funds as investments and bailouts to DisCos and GenCos since 2005.”

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that “Regular and uninterrupted access to electricity is a fundamental human right. Electricity is an essential public service but millions of Nigerians continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector–staying in darkness.”

“The increase in electricity tariff failed to follow due process of law. It is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], the Electric Power Sector Reform Act and the country’s international human rights obligations.”

“The increase is unjustified, especially given the unreliable, inefficient and poor quality of electricity in the country. Millions of Nigerians continue to live in darkness despite the spending by governments of trillions of naira as investments and bailouts to electricity companies.”

“The Federal Government has a legal responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability in how the investments and bailouts to electricity companies are spent, to reduce vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement.”

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