The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has insisted that the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos over increase in electricity tariff stands despite the appeal of the judgment by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC and Distribution companies, Discos.
According to the NLC, the declaration of the court that the increase was illegal and null and void stands, until the Court of Appeal rule otherwise, urging Nigerians not pay any electricity bill reflecting the increase in tariff.
It would be recalled that Justice Mohammed Idris had ordered NERC to revert to the former tariff and restrained it from further increasing tariff “unless it complies strictly with the relevant provisions of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005.”
In a statement issued by Toluwani Adebiyi, Esq, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the judgment of the court that the increase in tariff remains illegal, until the appeal is heard and overturned by the appellate court.
He said: “The court ruling remains binding and in full force until the stay of execution filed is heard and granted by the Federal High Court, which is as difficult as a camel passing through the eye of a needle.
“Nigerians are responsible people. We all know that business is for profit making but not at the detrimental exploitation of electricity consumers, meters must be provided for all, before tariff can be hiked. We are not saying NERC cannot increase tariff, and it is none of our business what effect the reversal as ordered by court will have on their capital or investment, what we are saying is that, due process as provided by the enabling Act was not followed, the condition precedents were breached, it is procedurally ultra-vires, they had only succeeded in putting something on nothing, and so must surely collapse. ‘’
Continuing, the NLC president argued that the Court of Appeal will also look into the same law the Federal High Court used in arriving at its decision.
“So, tough time and unimpeachable failure await NERC and DISCOs, the fact that the reversal will affect their business does not right the wrong they have committed, their unending defiance can never right their wrongs.’’
He noted that a wise management and government would obey court’s judgment, reverse the illegal increment and take necessary lawful steps to do the needful.
“Meanwhile, any bill they bring reflecting the illegal increment must be resisted. Enthroning justice as regard this hike is our collective responsibility, take note of names of DISCO officials that come to serve such illegal bills, use the enrolled order and sue them and DISCO for contempt of court. Until we resist evil policies, we cannot have Nigeria of our dream,’’ he said
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews
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