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Tariff Hike: Falana Backs Picketing Of NERC, DISCOs Offices



Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has thrown his support to the picketing of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) headquarters and offices of the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) across the country over the hike in electricity tariff.

Falana, who declared his support for the organised labour, while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics stressed the proposed action is justified and is equally provided for in Nigeria’s Labour Act.

It would be recalled that the organised labour under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), had a few days ago, issued NERC a May 12 deadline to reverse the hike in electricity tariff to N65/kwh or risk having its commission and DISCO offices nationwide picketed.

The labour unions directed their state branches and affiliates in a warning letter jointly signed by NLC President, Joe Ajaero and his TUC counterpart, Festus Osifo, to mobilise their members in readiness for the picketing if the Federal Government and NERC fail to heed their warning.

According to Falana, NERC failed to follow due process and did not engage the stakeholders before taking such an unpopular decision.

“There is provision for picketing under the Labour Act in Nigeria and that is what the Labour centres will begin tomorrow. They are going to picket the headquarters of NERC and offices of the DISCOs to register their protest against the illegal increase in electricity tariff.

“This is because the Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission did not follow due process and didn’t conduct a public hearing as required by the Electricity Act 2023. I hope the NERC will engage and discuss with the Labour movement and see what can be done to reverse the hike.

“Again, the increase was anchored on the assumption that there will be regular electricity supply for at least 20 hours. But that has not been the case. If DISCO cannot meet the electricity supply, people have no right to pay the increased tariff,” Falana said.

He expressed concern that it would be unfair and insensitive of any government to supply darkness and expect its citizens to pay for electricity tariffs.