Civil advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the fresh hike in electricity tariff.
The Federal Government effected the increase through its Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. The rights group asked “Nigerians to take steps to show to government their rejection of this attempt to send them to their early graves through the skyrocketed and uncontrollable costs of living.”
It also condemned “the plot by government to hike the taxation on data and calls which will inevitably mean that Nigerians will now pay one of the most exorbitant costs of making telephone calls in the world.”
HURIWA said these decisions are against the fundamental human rights provisions enshrined in chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution. It warned that these unnecessary financial burdens may lead to a reduction of the lifespan of Nigerians.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari “is bent on impoverishing Nigerians with his anti-humane policies.”
NERC had on Thursday released different documents indicating the approved power tariff increase payable by consumers to various electricity distribution companies in Nigeria. In different orders to the 11 Discos operating in Nigeria, the commission stated that the tariff hike was based on the extraordinary review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order, as it explained that the order took effect from January 1, 2022.
Reacting, Onwubiko said: “We strongly condemn and reject the hike in fees payable for darkness and wonder whether government isn’t aware that millions of Nigerians lost their jobs due to Covid-19 and are in the job markets. “According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate is over 33 per cent with over 23 million jobless Nigerians.
“How do they expect the 90 million absolutely poor Nigerians to afford the high costs of darkness as approved by NERC because electricity power to a few homes that are connected to the national grid are often left in darkness.
“Of note, despite trillions of dollars thought to have been borrowed by the Buhari regime to improve the megawatts produced by about 19 power generating plants in the country, the national grid keeps wobbling, with perpetual outages that throw businesses, homes and the entire country into subterranean darkness. “Embarrassingly, the national electricity grid had collapsed five times in 2022.
“HURIWA urge Nigerians to protest and reject the fresh hikes in electricity tariff because it is an attempt to impoverish us, according to statistics by the Hanke’s Annual Misery Index which showed that Nigerians were more miserable in 2021 than they were in 2020.
“According to the report, which analysed 156 countries by calculating their unemployment rates, inflation, prevailing lending rates and GDP growths, Nigeria went from 15th among the most miserable countries in the world’s ranking in 2020 to 11th in 2021.
“Buhari and his government has deepened Nigerians further into unimaginable poverty and Nigerians including civil society organisations must kick against this unfortunate plunge.”