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Atiku, SERAP, condemn hike in electricity tariffs, say it’s ill-timed, ill-advised

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ATIKU Abubakar, a former Vice President of Nigeria has reacted to the increase in electricity tariff by the Federal Government describing as ill-timed and ill-advised.

“I reject the increased electricity tariffs. Coming out of the lockdown, Nigerians need a stimulus, not an impetuous disregard for the challenges they face,” said Abubakar in a message left on Twitter on Thursday.

He lamented that the tariff  increase was announced at a time many Nigerians have lost their sources of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many Nigerians have not earned an income for months, due to no fault of theirs. This increase is ill-timed and ill-advised,” he said.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had approved an increase in electricity tariff with effect from September 1, 2020.

The Commission said the increment will be based on hours of electricity supply as against the previous categories of residential, commercial and industrial customers with different bands (A to E) depending on the level of supply.

Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project (SERAP) has also condemned the increase in the electricity tariff, describing it as a blatant affront to decisions by UN special rapporteurs banning any arbitrary increase in tariff.

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The SERAP in a statement on its official Twitter account called on NERC to immediately reverse  what it called “this illegality.”

It asked President Muhammadu Buhari to instead cut corruption in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, National Assembly and Presidency allowances.

“Electricity tariff increase is a blatant affront to decisions by UN special rapporteurs banning any arbitrary increase in tariff. The NERC must immediately reverse this illegality,” SERAP said.

It further counseled the administration to also look at ways it can address the economic consequences of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians, adding that the hike will have adverse effects on Nigerians struggling economically and also widen the gap of inequality in the country.

“Rather than taking measures to address the consequences of COVID-19 on people’s rights, Nigerian authorities are pushing to increase fuel price & electricity tariff,” it said.

“This will disproportionately hurt the poor already in precarious economic situations, and exacerbate inequality.”

It added, “Nigeria has human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to ensure people’s right to an adequate standard of living, so that everyone enjoys the rights necessary to live in dignity.”

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Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

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