By Mike Ojo
The Incorporated Trustees of Human Rights Foundation has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the proposed over 40 per cent increase in electricity tariff.
In a suit filed before Justice Muslim Hassan, the group argued that “the implementation of the purported minor review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order will create unquantifiable hardship and damages on the Nigerian electricity consumers.
“Consumers will be made to pay very high tariff, which has been increased by over 40 per cent across the board of which is currently being billed.”
In an affidavit deposed to by Theodora Ubabunike, a lawyer, the human rights group said, “It will amount to a great injustice to impose arbitrary electricity tariff on Nigerian electricity consumers.
“Nigerians will suffer monumental loss as many people will not be able to access power or access same at very high tariff. I know that Nigerians are entitled to access public amenities like electrical power.”
Joined as respondents in the suit are the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission; the Bureau of Public Enterprises; the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc; and the Minister of Power.
Also joined as respondents are Abuja, Benin, Enugu, Ikeja, Kaduna, Kano, Port Harcourt, Yola, Eko, Ibadan and Jos electricity distribution companies.
In an ex parte application taken before Justice Hassan on Monday by Anaje Chinedu, the human rights group prayed for “an order of interim injunction restraining NERC from taking any step towards the implementation of the purported Minor Review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 and the Remittance Order 2019,” pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the group.
However, following argument by Chinedu on Monday, Justice Hassan declined granting the ex part application but instead ordered the parties to maintain the status quo.
The judge said, “It is hereby ordered that the status quo ante bellum shall be maintained by the parties in this suit pending the determination of the motion on notice.”
Justice Hassan adjourned till January 20, 2020 for the hearing of the motion on notice.