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Group tasks government on constant electricity during lockdown

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•Lagos APC Faction Slams Govt, Nigerians Over Attitude To Sit-At-Home Order

Nationwide Electricity Provision Advocates (NEPA) has expressed concern over government’s directive that Nigerians should stay at home for 14 days without adequate provision of electricity.

The stay-at-home order is part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that has affected over 190 Nigerians so far.In a statement yesterday, president of the non-governmental organisation, Abdul Bako, said it would not hesitate to embark on a series of civil action, if no visible improvement was observed in power supply by mid-April, especially with the stay-at-home order.

In similar vein, factional chairman of Lagos chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Fouad Oki, described as worrisome the lackadaisical manner governments and Nigerians were handling the sit-at-home directive.

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Although, Bako lauded the suspension of the planned tariff hike by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), he said the fact that power supply across the nation was still far bellow expectation was unacceptable.

Bako, therefore, tasked NERC to be proactive and improve on power delivery by respecting existing agreements between the Federal Government and the electricity distribution companies (DisCos).

He stated, “Federal Government should stop moving the goalposts on the whims of state actors without altruistic interest in ameliorating the plight of Nigerians long held captive by the power sector’s inefficiency and corruption.

“The government’s generation companies (GenCos) are grossly under-generating power (about 30 per cent of Nigeria’s needs); the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) is not able to transmit even 50 per cent of the generated power; and yet government wants to single out the independent/private sector-driven DisCos as the whipping boy to be attacked by all and sundry, whereas it is on the public record that government has failed to live up to its obligations to the DisCos.

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“The Federal Government, ab initio, forced the DisCos to invest 75 per cent of the fund directly into government coffers with the agreement that government would use the money to improve transmission capacity and create buffers for the DisCos, including subsidising tariffs in such a way that the DisCos could attract resources and meet consumers’ demands for uninterrupted power supply.”

He, however, regretted that government used the funds to pay off the staff of the old government monopoly, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), who had threatened to hold the sector captive.
 
Oki, on his part, said issues of lack of water and high poverty rate among Nigerians mostly in densely populated places might jeopardise the objectives of the stay-at-home directive and containment of the pandemic, unless government took necessary steps. He also appealed to desperate Nigerians to heed to the order for the purpose of saving their lives.

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