Group urges Buhari to stop planned 40% electricity tariff hike


Chief Areoye Oyebola

FROM the Movement for Nigeria’s Total Transformation (MNTT) yesterday came condemnation of the plan by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that electricity tariffs will increase by 40 per cent in November.

The Movement in a statement by its Chairman, Chief Areoye Oyebola, said it is in an unfortunate country called Nigeria that the callous statement could be made without the masses immediately turning the country upside down and ungovernable.

It, therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately stop the planned tariff increase, which will be a further dehumanisation of the already oppressed Nigerian citizens.

The President, the movement said, should resist the powerful vested interests, mainly former rulers of our hapless country, who bought the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria under shady circumstances for the personal enrichment of these few but powerful former rulers.

The statement said: “It is sad indeed that in a country where the minimum wage of N18,000 per month has not been implemented by many states; where even the meagre salaries are paid in instalments and in arrears; and also where aged pensioners are owed arrears of their meagre entitlements for months and with many dying daily of starvation without receiving their pensions; where millions of able-bodied and educated youths are jobless, it is unimaginable that heartless owners of the new electricity companies are bent on further worsening the pathetic hardship of the citizens.

It is unfortunate that the tariffs of the electricity which is insufficient for 24-hour regular supply even in only four major cities of Nigeria is to be arbitrarily increased again.
“Its epileptic nature and insufficiency is the situation that has prompted many multi-national companies to leave Nigeria for better-organised and sane countries like South Africa and Ghana.
“The comatose state of the economy and the hardship of small-scale businesses throughout the country are due partly to erratic electricity supply and arbitrary monthly electricity fees being charged as a result of deliberate refusal to provide pre-paid meters to consumers.

This unwholesome position will make any further increase in electricity tariffs totally unacceptable to the workers and the downtrodden masses.
“President should note that when the old Power Holding Company of Nigeria was to be privatised and sold to former powerful rulers and their agents, the entire work-force resisted and explained that no country has succeeded with the present privatised ownership of electricity.”

President, please critically look at this arrangement and cancel it after thorough investigation of the indefensible sale of our electricity authority. What should seriously border you is not just the increase in the tariffs of electricity but how you will behave like a benevolent dictator to remove the world-wide stigma, disdain and shame which our pathetic country, Nigeria, suffers because it generates only less than 5,000 megawatts of electricity; while South Africa, with about a quarter of our population generates about 44,000 megawatts of electricity.

You can mobilise to give Nigeria a minimum of 30,000 megawatts of electricity in the next two years under your direct presidential monitoring and save Nigeria from this situation that has become a tragedy too deep for tears.

Please, explore the goodwill you now enjoy among the Western Nations and recover our looted billions promptly, spending a considerable percentage of it to put an end to the shameful and perennial darkness of Nigeria, black race’s most populous country, the statement added.

The Movement, therefore, appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), all teachers and workers of tertiary institutions, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and all human rights groups to rise like one man in defence of the oppressed and totally taken-for-granted Nigerian people.

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