The failure of President Muhammadu Buhari “to reverse the unlawful, unjust, and unreasonable increase in electricity tariff, and to probe the spending of public funds as “investments and bailouts” to DisCos and GenCos since 2005″ is the subject of a lawsuit brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
Abubakar Malami (SAN), Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC are all named as respondents in the lawsuit.
This came after the NERC reportedly approved, raising electricity rates for all DisCos nationwide in December 2022. As a result, the rise has apparently been confirmed by multiple prepaid clients. Both the NERC and the Minister of Power have declined to acknowledge or reject the increase.
SERAP is requesting the court to “compel President Buhari to direct the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to reverse the unlawful, unjust, and unreasonable increase in electricity tariff” in the lawsuit FHC/L/CS/99/2023, which was filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
“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 group stated.
“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.”
“The government has legal obligations to effectively and progressively provide affordable, regular and uninterrupted access to electricity as a matter of human rights.”
The lawsuit, which SERAP’s attorneys Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms. Adelanke Aremo filed on its behalf, stated in part: “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.”