Nigerian Lawyer Demands Sacking of Power Minister AmidElectricity, Tariff, Hike, Listen

Nigerian human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong calls for President Bola Tinubu to sack Power Minister Adebayo Adelabu over electricity tariff hike and fuel scarcity crisis. The crisis has sparked widespread protests and criticism, with many Nigerians feeling the government is insensitive to their economic struggles.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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Nigerian Lawyer Demands Sacking of Power Minister AmidElectricity, Tariff, Hike, Listen

Nigerian Lawyer Demands Sacking of Power Minister AmidElectricity, Tariff, Hike, Listen

Inibehe Effiong, a prominent Nigerian human rights lawyer, is calling on President Bola Tinubu to sack the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, over the government's handling of the ongoing electricity tariff hike and fuel scarcity crisis. Effiong accused the government of being insensitive to the suffering of Nigerians amidst the economic challenges.

Why this matters: The crisis highlights the need for accountability and effective governance in Nigeria, as the government's decisions have a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens. If left unchecked, the situation could lead to widespread unrest and further exacerbate the country's economic woes.

The electricity tariff hike, which saw costs increase from N66 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to N225/kWh for Band A consumers, has sparked widespread controversy and dissatisfaction among Nigerians. Minister Adelabu faced criticism for suggesting that Nigerians leave their freezers on for days, a remark he later regretted. Despite the hike, Adelabu stated that the N225/kWh tariff could decrease if certain conditions are met.

The fuel scarcity crisis has compounded the hardships faced by Nigerians, with petrol prices exceeding N700 per liter in some areas. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the fuel subsidies could consume nearly half of Nigeria's projected oil revenue. President Tinubu defended his administration's decision to remove the subsidies at the World Economic Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, citing the need to avoid bankruptcy and reset the economy for growth.

Since taking office on May 29, 2023, Nigerians have been subjected to a series of tariffs and taxes, leading to increased prices for fuel and electricity. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) issued a two-week ultimatum to the electricity authorities to reverse the price increase or face their wrath. Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, also criticized the Minister of Power for breaching the Electricity Act by not conducting a public hearing before announcing the tariff increase.

The introduction of a new 0.5% cybersecurity levy on every electronic money transfer has also been met with widespread condemnation. Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi described the levy as "further proof that the government is more interested in milking a dying economy instead of nurturing it to recovery and growth." The NLC rejected the cybersecurity levy, while the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) threatened to sue the federal government if it proceeds with the implementation.

The NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have given the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) an ultimatum to reverse the tariff hike by May 12, 2024, or face nationwide protests. The unions argue that the hike is "morally reprehensible" and "blatantly disregards fundamental principles and statutory obligations." A Federal High Court in Kano has also issued an order restraining NERC and the Kano Electricity Distribution Company from implementing the new tariff for Band A consumers.

As Nigerians grapple with the economic hardships brought about by the fuel subsidy removal and electricity tariff hike, the calls for government action and accountability grow louder. The expiration of the N30,000 minimum wage on April 18, 2024, without a new wage being implemented, has left workers without a permanent solution to their financial woes. Inibehe Effiong's demand for the sacking of thePower Ministerreflects the growing frustration and discontent among citizens who feel the government has been insensitive to their plight.