Activist decries poor electricity supply in Lagos, increased tariff
Frontline activist and member, National Executive Council Democratic Social Movement (DSM), Dagga Tolar, has lamented government’s failures in privatising the electricity sector. This, he said, has led to the poor distribution of electricity in the state while refusing its increased tariffs as a result of debts.
At a symposium on electricity crisis organised by DSM in Lagos, Tolar noted that with different roadmaps set up by past administrations to increase electricity supply, the country is still one of the highest importer of generators. He therefore called on “Ordinary Nigerians in their various communities have to rise up, organise themselves and refuse the continuous state of having to pay for darkness in their various communities.”
According to him, “The Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and Generating Companies (GenCOs) are telling us of the debts government own them, which is over N100 million, but again we are told that they themselves have not invested a single kobo since the take over. They procured loans from banks and on the basis of government’s subvention they have been living on.
“Again, since October 1, 2013, that the private sector took over, and with over 20 million Nigerian households paying electricity bills even with the increased tariff of N750 which took effect from February 2016, these DISCOs and GenCOs have made over N360 trillion from Nigerians over a period of 28 months.
We know too well that these tariff is officially N750 but Nigerians paid as high as N5,000-15,000 and so if these people tell us they have not made money in the last three years, they must think that we don’t know our mathematics.”
He further noted that as it clearly stands, the DISCOs and GENCOs have shown that they are incapable of providing electricity for everyone and it can only be available as a commodity for usage for the mass of the working population.
Tolar added that if this continued, electricity would be available, but only for those who can afford it. “Over 35 percent of Nigerians do not have access to any form of electricity in this country, and for those who earn the minimum wage of N18, 000, how do they access this commodity.”
Human rights lawyer, Toluwani Yemi-Adebiyi, who secured the judgment from the Federal High court against the DISCOs on 45 per cent electricity tariff hike, said: “during the Jonathan’s era a N230 billion bailout fund was given by the CBN to offset electricity charges, today the funds cannot be accounted for. We have been paying for darkness, we have not gotten value and we need to see results before tariff can be increased. Electricity is vital for the growth of the economy and iessential if industries will be revitalised. This country has the alternatives of generating electricity (water, coal, gas, solar), which should be utilised.
“The way forward for us is that Nigerians must run a society and own a government that is willing to use the resources of society without having to wait for foreign investors or a business man who put the money of all of us in his pocket.”
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