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Open letter to Senator Gabriel Suswam on his insensitive, anti-people address at NERC

By Mazi Agodi KANU

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Open letter to chairman, senate committee on power, Senator Gabriel Suswam on his insensitive and anti-people address at NERC

NDI-IGBO UNITED FORUM (NUF) is a registered sociopolitical organization committed to Igbo unity, welfare, interest and good governance. Mr Chairman, this letter is fundamentally anchored on your address during your oversight function visit to the Corporate Headquarters of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Abuja within the week. In your speech, you among other things:

1. Commended NERC;
2. Assured them that the suspended new tariff will soon come into effect;
3. Indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s attendant economic impact was the reason for the temporary suspension of the hiked tariff take off.

Senator Gabriel Susan, further recall the commendable interventions and efforts of the Senate President, Senator Abdul Lawan and Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on the subject matter of hike in tariff. These worthy representatives specifically halted the increase not based on COVID-19 driven economic downturn but on:

a. Inability of Distribution Companies (DISCO) to meter customers before implementation;
b. (A) above will eradicate estimated billings which is robbery and unacceptable;
c. we must add review of the hike which will compel Southeast under the yoke of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to pay the highest rate in Nigeria. Our petition against the unacceptable digits is before you, the Senate President, NERC and EEDC.

The Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari aligned with the position of the Presiding Officers and influenced movement of commencement to first quarter of 2021. It’s assumed that between now and then, metering and other things must have been in place.

May we remind Senator Suswam that our petition earlier written and delivered to his office in February, 2020 which he forwarded to NERC to respond raised issues of deploying Police and Soldiers against innocent, armless and harmless Southeast consumers which is not obtainable in other geographical zones, compromised and deficient new meters, poor customer service, estimated billings, forceful removal of meters and NERC’s inability to rein in EEDC as observed during the tripartite meeting held in Enugu at the instance of NERC in February 2020.

In fact we called for outright dissolution of NERC. We are also aware that so many customers and stakeholders has raised similar issues and still singing it like a familiar song.

IMPLICATIONS

Chairman, the unfortunate implications of your widely circulated address at NERC Office are:

1. That you are not standing with Mr. President and Presiding Officers of National Assembly;
2. That for you, the ONLY reason why the new tariff was suspended was as a result of economic impact occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic;
3. That the political position you adopted and weak assurances that the poor won’t feel the pains is deceitful since you refused to announce or give update on metering of customers which is the paramount concern of both consumers and well meaning Nigerians.
4. That you fail to feel the heartbeat of ordinary Nigerians during your oversight jamboree;
5. That as a former governor presumably closer to the grassroots that you’re after all not closer to the people;
6. That your encouraging and massaging words to NERC and DISCOs by extension will embolden the shylocks in their ruthless manipulation of the people;
7. That you have no plans at all in rescuing and resolving the autistic Power Sector; and
8. That romantic visit that had no trapping of advising the Regulators and DISCOs to sit up leaves much to be desired and can best be described like a rural hunger stricken school boy that visited his granny begging for meal.

In view of your misfiring that sought to erode the achievements, vocalistic and plausible approaches of the Presiding Officers, we wish to state as follows:

  • Senator Gabriel Suswam should resign as Chairman, Senate Committee on Power;
  • The President of Senate should as matter of urgency dissolve and reconstitute the Senate Committee on Power to be made up serious minded and people friendly Senators;
  • His Senatorial Zone should commence process of recalling him as soon as possible to save them from further avoidable embarrassments.

May we conclude by advising the Presidency, Senate and House of Representatives to ignore the blabbing of Senator Suswam and go ahead to assist in establishing necessary structures that will deliver power and value for money to consumers nationwide.

Also consider the special issues raised as it concerns the Southeast currently under the EEDC taskmasters.

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