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Rights Group Petitions Malami Over Recent Nation Wide Electricity Blackout

….. Wants Legal Action Against NUEE Members

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A human rights organization, Civil Rights Realization and Advancement Network (CRRAN), has urged Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, to direct the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to invoke relevant sessions of the law and commence criminal action against the national Union of Electricity Employees NUEE, over recent unlawful nationwide blackout.

The group stated that the recent nationwide disruption of electricity supply from the national grid by NUEE, in trying to picket the Transmission Coming of Nigeria (TCN), was Unlawful, illegal, and an offence punishable with seven years’ imprisonment.

A petition signed by its president, Olu Omotayo (Esq), addressed to the Justice Minister read thus: “We hereby appeal to your office to invoke the provisions of Section 94 (3) of Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA)2005, and direct the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to commence immediate criminal action over this grave violation of the rights of over 200 million Nigerians by a group of lawless people.

It submitted that the powers regulating the entire electricity generation, regulation, transmission etc, is vested in the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) by the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA)2005.

“By virtue of this Act, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), all Distributions companies, and everyone partaking in the industry are subject to the regulation of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

According to CRRAN, “Section 31 of the EPSRA 2005, established NERC, while Section 32 (1)of the Act provides for its’ functions which includes but not limited to: 32(1) a.

The document made available to African Examiner weekend in Enugu, further noted that it provides “to create promote and preserve efficient industry and market structures and to ensure the optimal utilization of resources for the provision of electricity services.

The organization noted that “32(1)e. also provides that it ensure the safety, security, reliability and quality of service in the production and delivery of electricity to the consumers.

“And most importantly, 32 (1) (g) to present quarterly reports to the President and National Assembly on its activities.

“The EPSRA(2005) provides everything necessary as is contained in laws of advanced jurisdictions to protect the consumers and regulate the electricity industry efficiently.

“To ensure compliance with this Act that is why Section 32(1)g, demanded that NERC should always present quarterly reports to the president and the National Assembly, so that the citizens will always know what is going on in the industry.

“But NERC has failed Nigerians woefully; the Commission does not know its duties and functions as the sole authority vested with the powers to regulate the industry.

“It should be noted that the Commission misconstrued the law that it’s’ powers is only limited to regulate complaints between consumers and the Distributing Companies (Discos).

“In fact, Section 32(2) (d) stated that the Commission shall “license and regulate persons engaged in the generation, transmission, system operation, distribution, and trading of electricity.

“The law says regulate persons engaged in generation, and transmission which includes TCN workers.

“It is note -worthy that in the course of shutting down the transmission stations for 24 hours, NERC was just standing by and looking while the whole episode lasted.

“This is a Commission vested with the powers of regulating the industry, stressing that what NERC should have done but failed to do, Section 94 (3) of EPSRA(2005) provides that: Any person who contravenes any provision of this Act or any regulations here under commits an offence and is liable on conviction, where no specific penalty is prescribed therefore.

It said: “(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, any person who willfully destroys, injures or removes equipment or apparatus of a licensee commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period of not less than five years and not more than seven years.”

“The implication of this provision is that by virtue of Transmission License granted to “Transmission Company of Nigeria” (TCN), under Section 65 of EPSRA(2005),

it is a licensee under this Act and action of these said protestant in injuring and removing and disabling its’ transmission equipment its punishable by 7 years imprisonment.

It further explained why the provision of Section 94 (3) of EPSRA(2005), should be Invoked .

“Why should someone switch off electricity supply to an entire nation because he felt that it is not within the powers of a government agency to conduct promotional examination or interviews for him.

” This is a legal question the court would have resolved

This band of people does not have conscience and regard for human lives at all.

“Many sick people need this electricity to survive in the hospitals. If the blackout had lasted for a week it is estimated that over 300 sick people in the 22 Teaching Hospitals, 20 Federal Medical Centers, 17 Specialists Hospitals and other Hospitals across the country would have given up the ghost because of the inability of these hospitals to sustain power supply using generators because of the high cost of procuring diesels.

“From humanitarian perspective the action of this group of people is murderous and should be condemned in an unequivocal terms because they cannot be fighting what they term their labor rights while lives of innocent citizens are wasted.

The petition which was also copied to Chairman of NERC, posited that “It’s only in Nigeria that some people will say because it is their right not to attend any interview before promotion; and because of that they will switch off the entire electricity supply facilities to the whole country.

“We submit that this was a grave infraction on the rights of Nigerians, it was Lawlessness, less than 50 deranged people invited for the said interview felt that they have superior rights over the 200 million citizens of this great country and in contravention of the law of this great country switched of electricity supply to the whole nation.

“We must resist this grave injustice by this band of people. It is our rights to enjoy steady supply of electricity supply as Nigerians and as protected under the law. We must Take Back this Country from Anarchist like these.

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