Over 100million Nigerians excluded from national grid-Report: An advocacy support group under the hashtag, #Where’s is the Light Movement has expressed outrage over the exclusion of over 100 million electricity consumers from the national grid.
A baseline study conducted by the group noted that with over 46 per cent of Nigerians cut off from the electricity grid nationwide, it is anybody’s guess that most of the affected population suffers a lot of socioeconomic privations more than they are willing to admit.
Speaking separately at a press conference held at the International Press Centre (IPC), Ogba Lagos, recently, the group’s representatives including Sina Odugbemi, the Convener and Chinedu Bosah, the Secretary, said it was scandalous to note that, “Over 60 years of independence, the self-serving bourgeois ruling elite and power companies have condemned Nigerians to avoidable darkness and hopelessness as uninterrupted electricity has been made impossible in Nigeria. Electricity is life; it is extremely instrumental to production, service, education, healthcare, wellbeing etc. Due to the epileptic power supply, private generation through generators add to between 30 to 40 % production cost, a situation that renders local products and services uncompetitive in the global market and has forced many companies to collapse with its attendant mass job losses.”
Raising some posers, the group queried, “Why is Nigeria still battling with 2,000 to 4000 MW of electricity for a population of 200 million people? About 46% of Nigerians are not connected to the national electricity grid. Electricity is a fundamental right of all Nigerians that must be fought for, protected and guarded jealously.”
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Going down memory lane, the group further lamented that previous exploitative metering policies just like Meter Asset Providers Regulation 2018 failed because most Nigerians cannot afford the outrageous cost even as it upbraided the government for spending about N27 billions of taxpayers’ money to facilitate the metering process with consumers still forced to buy the meters for about N50,000 for single-phase and about N90,000 for three-phase meters.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has just doled out another N18 billion to power companies as part of the federal government Mass Metering Programme. All these government’s interventions amount to fraudulently using public funds to bail out private power companies.”
According to the group, there is no justification for the darkness the entire citizenry have been made to endure thus far.
“Since the privatisation of the power sector in November 2013, no single megawatt has been added independently by the Generating Companies (GENCOs); Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has no capacity to transmit the very little generated electricity and we have to be entertained with incessant system collapse while the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) are too busy stealing from the people through overbilling to recognise the fact that transformers, cables, poles, substations, feeders etc., are not only grossly inadequate but also in decrepit conditions. Despite this darkness imposed on the people, the DISCOs have the effrontery to regularly reject electricity wheeled to them because they want to profit from the darkness imposed on us. DISCOs also force communities to procure distribution facilities like transformers, cables, poles etc., and transfer ownership to them.”
The group insisted that, “There must be availability of electricity supply to all that is accessible and affordable to all citizens without discrimination based on economic status, gender, tribe, religion or profession. The social welfare and right of all Nigerians must be guaranteed at all times in accordance with Section 14 (1) (b) of 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended). Section 14 (1b) expressly states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”
Justifying the need for the advocacy by #Where is the Light Movement#, the group noted that it is determined to sustain the sensitisation, interaction and mobilisation of Nigerians to resist the ongoing exploitation and extortion.
“We are alerting Nigerians of our preparedness to lead a mass resistance movement against the government and the power companies. We appeal to the general public to join the mass protest and other mass actions called by ‘Where is the Light Movement in future.”