Court Halts Planned Electricity Hike By NERC

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday stopped the planned hike of electricity tariff by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Toluwani Adebiyi, had taken the commission to court over the planned hike saying that it would add further hardship on already impoverished Nigerians.

He had asked the court to restrain the commission from going ahead with its plan.






     

     

    Justice Mohammed Idris, had subsequently on May 28, restrained NERC from going ahead with the proposed increment.

    The commission in response had filed an application seeking to discharge the restraining order claiming that Adebiyi had grossly misrepresented facts before the court and in the process misled the court into granting the order.

    Counsel for the NERC, George Uwechue, had equally argued that the applicant failed to explore all available diplomatic remedies before rushing to get the court order.

    However, in its ruling on Thursday, the judge dismissed the commission’s application and held that the application was not filed within seven days as stipulated by Order, 26 Rule 11 of the court’s proceedings.
    The judge said this failure had rendered the defendant’s application null and thus made its application seeking to discharge the restraining order incompetent.
    “The ex-parte order of this court restraining hike in electricity tariff is valid and still subsisting,” the judge held.
    Also, the judge had struck out the preliminary objection filed by the commission challenging the applicant’s locus standi to institute the action.
    > The judge said that the defendant breached the provisions of Order 29, Rule 4 of the court’s Civil Procedure Rules by failing to file its preliminary objection within 21 days of being served with the applicant’s originating summons.
    “The learned Senior Advocate for the defendant holds the view that the provision is discretionary. I honestly and sincerely disagree with that view. In the circumstances, I hold that the preliminary objection was filed in breach of the rules of the court. The objection filed is therefore, in my view, incompetent and is hereby struck out.”
    The matter has been adjourned till September 23, 2015 for further hearing.

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