Vibrant senior Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has charged State Governors to ignore the laws restricting states from generating electricity.

The charge was made by Mr. Falana in Lagos on Wednesday at the launch of a report by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, titled “From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are paying the price for corruption in the electricity sector.”

At the programme which was supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Mr. Falana said state governments must begin to exercise their constitutional rights by challenging the control of electricity generation, distribution and transmission by the Federal Government.

According to him, “items 13 and 14 of the schedule to the constitution stipulate that state government shall have power to generate electricity outside the national grid.

“It goes further to say that the House of Assembly of each state shall make a law for the establishment of electricity boards in all states – they are not there! – to provide electricity for the people outside the national grid.

“And what’s the national grid?” he said, rhetorically.

“I generate electricity in my home, in my office. So why can’t the governor of Lagos State not generate electricity for all of us – about twenty million people?

“So, we must really challenge the control of our affairs by the government in Abuja.”

He, however, lamented that the National Assembly has not done much for the realisation of this agenda.

“The power Reforms Act of 2005 is largely illegal because it has attempted to concentrate power and electricity on the Federal Government and private companies contrary to the provisions of the constitution.

“That’s why we are challenging state governments, ‘stop going to Abuja, stop begging Federal Government’ to give you power to establish electricity companies in your state’.

“You have the right. If individuals can do that, why should you go to Abuja to get a licence?”

Author: Yemi Olarinre