Lawyers, ex-minister others fault bill to outlaw generators
Prominent Nigerians have opposed the proposed bill in the Senate to prosecute persons who import, sell and use electricity generating sets in the country.
Tagged: ‘A Bill for an Act to prohibit/ban the importation/ use generating sets’ it was sponsored by representative of Niger South Senatorial District, Bima Muhammad Enagi of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But reacting yesterday to the bill before the Senate, a former Minister of Power and Steel, Dr. Olu Agunloye said the bill was dead on arrival “and it will never see the light of the day.”
He said the mentality of sponsoring bills to ban the use and importation of generating was not new.
“In fact, it started during the era of the late Minister of Power, Chief Bola Ige and was again raised during my tenure to the extent that we were even told not to use generating sets in our residences and offices so that we could feel the impact of power failure.
But Ige decided to ignore it likewise myself. They even said PHCN could not use generating set as at then. Again, the whole argument made no sense just as it is not making any meaning now,” he stated.
Also, a former representative of Lagos East in the Eighth Senate, Gbenga Ashafa said he would not say much until he sees the content of the bill.
His words: “Similar issue came up during the Seventh Senate and my position then was that we must first have a stable generating and distributing system. I wouldn’t know if the situation have changed now that is reason I would like to see the bill first.”
A Lagos-based lawyer, Oluwole Kehinde described the Bill as an ambitious one, saying, “There is no way we can control the importation of generating sets when we do not have a stable electricity supply.
“It is either going to fail or encourage smuggling, which would eventually result in prices skyrocketing beyond the rich of the common man. It sounds nationalistic, but rather too idealistic to achieve any purpose.”
A female lawyer, Mary Eluwa lamented, “We live in a tropical country where the power supply is generally next to nothing.
In most part of this country, the power generating sets have become the main source of power while the one supplied by the government has become the alternative source, which ordinarily should be the other way round.”
She urged the Senate to first ensure that there was reasonable source of power supply, adding, “As for the recommended 10 years jail term, I think that should be reserved for those who deliberately sabotage effective power supply for their own selfish gains, and not for the ordinary citizens who just wants to make life more bearable for themselves, where government has failed.”
Responding, another lawyer, Chukwudi Adiukwu, said, “I do not believe that the sponsors of this bill thought through it properly before proposing it to the Senate. I would describe it as putting the cart before the horse.”