Thursday, May 30, 2024

Electricity Hike: FG Acting On IMF, World Bank Script – Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has accused the Federal Government of pandering to the whims and caprices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank following a hike in electricity tariff.

Falana claimed that the move is a policy imposed on the Nigerian government by the Bretton Wood institutions.

“The Honourable Minister of Power is acting the script of the IMF and the World Bank,” Falana said on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday.

“Those two agencies insisted, and they continue to insist that the government of Nigeria must remove all subsidies. Fuel subsidy, electricity subsidy and what have you; all social services must be commercialised and priced beyond the reach of the majority of Nigerians.

“So, the government cannot afford to protect the interest of Nigerians where you are implementing the neoliberal policies of the Bretton Wood institutions.”

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The Senior Advocate of Nigeria accused Western countries led by the United States of America of double standards. According to him, they subsidize agriculture, energy, and fuel and offer grants and loans to indigent students while they advise the Nigerian government against doing the same for its citizens.

Following the outrage that greeted the announcement of the tariff increase, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, explained that the action would not affect everyone using electricity as only Band A customers who get about 20 hours of electricity are affected by the hike.

Falana, however, insisted that neither the minister nor the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has justified the tariff increase.

The senior lawyer said that Nigerian law gives no room for discrimination against customers by grading them in different bands.

He insisted that the government cannot ask Nigerians to pay differently for the same product even when what has been consistently served to them is darkness.

Following the outrage over the hike, Adelabu on Monday appeared at a one-day investigative hearing on the need to halt the increase in electricity tariff by eleven successor electricity distribution companies amid the biting economic situation in Nigeria.

However, Falana said that nothing will come out of the probe by the Senate. He believes the matter has to be taken to court so that the minister and the Attorney General of the Federation can defend the move.

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