The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has taken President Muhammadu Buhari to court over his failure to reverse the increase in electricity tariff.
The body also requested a probe of the spending of public funds as ‘investments and bailouts’ to DisCos and GenCos since 2005.
Other respondents listed in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC.
SERAP in a letter dated January 7, 2023, noted that the increase in electricity tariff would increase the extreme poverty across the country and cut many Nigerians off from meeting their basic human needs.
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/99/2023 filed on Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, the organization is asking the court to “compel President Buhari to direct the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to reverse the unlawful, unjust and unreasonable increase in electricity tariff.”
SERAP is also requesting for the court to “compel President Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly investigate the spending of public funds as investments and bailouts to DisCos and GenCos since 2005.”
SERAP argues that “regular and uninterrupted access to electricity is a fundamental human right. Electricity is an essential public service but millions of Nigerians continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector–staying in darkness.”
Adding that, “the increase in electricity tariff failed to follow due process of law. It is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, and the country’s international human rights obligations.”
According to SERAP, “the increase is unjustified, especially given the unreliable, inefficient, and poor quality of electricity in the country. Millions of Nigerians continue to live in darkness despite the spending by governments of trillions of naira as investments and bailouts to electricity companies.”
“The Federal Government has a legal responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability in how the investments and bailouts to electricity companies are spent, to reduce vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement,” SERAP said.