Attempt by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to stop delivering of judgement in a suit filed by a rights activist, Toluwani Yemi Adebiyi, over the hike in electricity tariff suffered a setback on Monday as the Court of Appeal observed some irregularities in the Notice of Appeal.
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos had already fixed July 7 to deliver judgement but the NERC appealed against it.
At the Appeal Court on Monday, the Presiding Judge, Justice Amina Augie, noted that record of appeal compiled by NERC has not been properly entered because there were irregularities in its numbering.
“There is no appeal before this court, and record has not been entered. NERC is hereby directed to go and sort out the irregularities noted in the appeal numbers”, she said.
Justice Aguie then adjourned the appeal till November 22 for hearing.
Adebiyi, in the substantive suit, is seeking an order restraining NERC from implementing any upward review of electricity tariff without a meaningful, and significant improvement in power supply at least for 18 hours in a day in most communities in Nigeria.
He also wants an order restraining NERC from foisting compulsory service charge on pre-paid meters not until “the meters are designed to read charges per second of consumption and not a flat rate of service not rendered or power not used.”
He also wants the service charge on pre-paid meters not to be enforced until there is visible efficient, and reliable power supply like those of foreign countries where the idea of service charge was borrowed.
Adebiyi is further asking for an order of court mandating the NERC to do the needful, and generate more power to meet the electricity use of Nigerians, adding that the needful should include, and not limited to a multiple long-term financing approach, sourced from the banks, capital market, insurance and other sectors of finance to power the sector.
Finally, the lawyer is asking the court to mandate the NERC to make available to all Nigerians within a reasonable time of maximum of two years, prepaid meters as a way to stop the throat-cutting indiscriminate estimated bill.
In an affidavit in support of the suit personally deposed to by the applicant, the lawyer lamented that despite the motto and mission of NERC, which were expressly stated as “keeping the light on, and to meet the needs of Nigeria for safe, adequate, reliable and affordable electricity,” most communities in Nigeria do not get more than 30 minutes of electricity supply, while the remaining 23, hours and 30 minutes were always without light and in total darkness.