A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has yesterday dismissed an application made by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to stay further proceedings in the suit challenging the hike in electricity tariff by Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
The suit was instituted by a lawyer and rights activist, Toluwani Adebiyi, seeking a perpetual injunction restraining NERC from implementing any increase in electricity tariff without significant improvement in power supply for at least 18 hours a day.
He also sought an order restraining NERC from foisting compulsory service charge on pre-paid meters not until the meters were designed to read charges per second of consumption and not a flat rate of service not rendered or power not used, following which the court had restrained parties to maintain status-quo.
NERC had asked the court to stay proceedings until two previous rulings delivered by the Justice were heard and determined by the Appeal Court.
The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris dismissed the application for lacking in merit and held that contrary to the claims of the applicant, there were no indications that the appeal had been listed for hearing at the Court of Appeal.
“It is clear that the applicant has an application before the court seeking for an extension of time to compile and transmit its record at the Appeal Court.
“There is also another motion for leave to rely on the same record of appeal in this present appeal. However, there is no indication that the application has been listed on the cause list or that it had been heard or adjourned for hearing.
“In the circumstance, this court cannot grant a stay of proceedings on an incompetent appeal which is awaiting regularization at the Appeal Court. On the whole, the application lacks merit and is dismissed accordingly.”
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and civil society allies held a protest on Monday, February 8, against the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariffs.
Speaking during the protest, the NLC president, Wabba said there was no co-relation between the quality of service delivery, electricity supply and the increment tariff, thus, the workers rejects the hike and consider it unnecessary.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki promised the workers that the matter would look into the issue and that the lawmakers would ensure it is resolved in the interest of the ordinary Nigerian.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, however pleaded with Nigerians to accept the new hike, describing it as “a painful pill,” that must be swallowed by all in the interest of the country.