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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has sued the Federal Government and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, over “their collective failure, refusal and/or negligence to enforce their own directives to electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) to provide free prepaid meters to all Nigerians and end the use of patently illegal, arbitrary, unfair and discriminatory estimated billing across the country.”

The application with suit number FHC/L/CS/906/17 was filed last Friday at the Federal High Court Ikoyi. SERAP is arguing that, “By failing and/or neglecting to enforce his directives to DISCOs, Mr. Fashola is implicitly promoting the use of unjustifiable estimated billing, and increasing consumer costs.

“The use of estimated billing is marginalising Nigerians living in extreme poverty, disproportionately affecting women, children and the elderly, and increasing their vulnerability to discrimination.”

SERAP also argues that, “Mr. Fashola’s constitutional and statutory responsibility is not just to give directives to DISCOs to provide free prepaid meters to all Nigerians but also to decisively enforce such directives and end the use of estimated billing.

“Effective access to electricity includes metering of all consumers. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government which has been assigned to Mr. Fashola, and he cannot shy away from it.”

SERAP further argues that, “Unless the reliefs sought are granted, Mr. Fashola and the Federal Government will not perform their constitutional and statutory responsibilities to enforce the directives to DISCOs to provide free prepaid meters to all Nigerians.

“It is in the interest of justice to ensure strict enforcement of directives, deadlines and regulations on provision of free pre-paid meters to all Nigerians, and an end to estimated billing.”

The suit brought pursuant to Order 34 of the Federal High Court Rules and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, was signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale.

Author: Yemi Olarinre