NLC Insists On N250,000 Minimum Wage For Workers

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, says it has not changed its demand for N250,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

The union conveyed its position in a statement signed by its Acting President,Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, at the instance of President Bola Tinubu’s claim in his Democracy Day speech that has labour has reached
agreement with the federal government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage and other components.

The statement quoted Adeyanju as saying that labour not been given any compelling reasons to change this position which it considers a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process.

The statement said:”We are therefore surprised at the submission of Mr. President over a supposed agreement. We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC. There was none and it is important that we let the President, Nigerians and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage. We have also not seen a copy of the document submitted to him and will not accept any doctored document”.

The union reaffirmed its belief that the President on whose table the Tripartite Committee’s report presently resides would prepare an Executive Bill which content will reflect the true demand of Nigerian workers.

According to the statement,the development is an opportunity for President Tinubu to demonstrate his love for Nigerian workers and masses by shunning the pieces of advise that may be coming from those whose intentions are continuously focused on hurting the poor and struggling workers of Nigeria.

The union advised Tinubu not to allow groups to sabotage his promise of lifting Nigerian workers out of poverty.

The statement quoted that President’s advisers did not tell him the truth that the leaders of the trade unions were intimidated and harassed.

It added:”It is therefore important that Mr. President understands that we were threatened severally by his operatives perhaps without his consent. Series of media Propaganda calculated to intimidate and harass us were, and, are still being waged against the trade unions by senior officials of this government.

“Fully armed soldiers surrounded us while we were in a negotiation with the Government and despite denials, recent statements by senior officials of the Government reaffirmed our fears contrary to the assurances by the Government. However, we remain assured that the President’s democratic credentials will come to the fore in favour of Nigerian workers and masses.

“It is also important that Mr. President should know that most of his officers are working round the clock to set up the leadership of congress and the trade unions. We never agreed on a 5-year duration of the minimum wage Act though we acknowledge that the President mentioned 5 years or less. We also agreed that inflation should be pegged at a level for certain amount to be agreed as minimum wage. This is to bring clarity to what the report should contain.

“Once again,we reiterate that it will be extremely difficult for Nigerian workers to accept any national minimum wage figure that approximates to a starvation Wage. We cannot be working and yet remain in abject poverty. We seek justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians and this we hope would also drive the actions of Mr. President who promised a Living Wage to Nigerian workers”.

TCN Announces Destruction Of New  Towers Along Damaturu – Maiduguri Line 

    Mohammed Shosanya
The Transmission Company of Nigeria,TCN,says vandals have destroyed the electricity towers, T193 and T194, along the Damaturu -Maiduguri  330kV Single Circuit Transmission Line.
Ndidi Mbah, the General Manager (GM), Public Affairs of TCN,who conveyed this in a statement on Wednesday,disclosed that the incident occured at about 10:15pm, Tuesday night.
She said:”The Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, hereby states that two of its towers, T193 and T194, along the Damaturu -Maiduguri  330kV Single Circuit Transmission Line have again been destroyed by vandals.
“The incident, TCN believes happened at about 10:15pm, yesterday night, when the 150MVA power transformer at Molai Substation tripped at the same time as the 330kV transmission line supplying bulk power to Maiduguri from Damaturu Transmission Substation”.
According to her,after the line tripped, efforts were made by TCN engineers to close the Mulai – Damaturu line to enable bulk transmission of electricity, which failed repeatedly.
Early on Wednesday,she said, TCN lines engineers along with security operatives patrolled the line and discovered that towers 193 and 194 along the 330kV transmission line were brought down using an explosive device, whose fragments are scattered at the site of the incident.
She said,the area affected by this incident is Maiduguri and its environs.
She added:”Recall that on the 28th of December, 2023, towers T193, T194 and T195, were destroyed on 28th December, 2023 using similar improvised Explosives IEDs. Two out of the towers in question are the towers affected by yesterday’s vandalism attack, which were rebuilt after that incident.
“TCN is currently assessing the situation with the view to deciding on the best approach to ensuring the temporary restoration of the power supply while a contractor is mobilized to rebuild the two transmission towers.
“We will continue to do everything possible with the assistance of security operatives to protect our transmission towers and we are also calling upon the government and well-meaning Nigerians to join in the fight against the destruction of our collective national assets” .
Ponzi: Famzhi Boss Bags 5 Years Jail Term For Fraud

Mohammed Shosanya

The Chairman and Managing Director of Famzhi Interbiz Ltd, Mariam Suleiman has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment without option of fine for defrauding investors of over N2 billion.

The development represents a major boost to the enforcement activities of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Justice Inyang Ekwo of Federal High Court, Abuja, found Suleiman and her company guilty of the allegations preferred against them in counts one and two by the Federal Government.

According to Ekwo, “Upon the provisions of Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act and Section 56(6) of the Securities and Investment Act being read to the defendants, for understanding of the terms of punishment therein.

“And upon hearing the allocutus of the learned counsel for the defendants and considering same, I am minded not to impose the full punishment on the 1st defendant (Suleiman) particularly,” he said.

Justice Ekwo sentenced Suleiman to three years’ imprisonment in count one and two years’imprisonment in count two which would run concurrently from the date of the order.

He also ordered the company to be wound up and all its property to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

“The said property shall be sold and the proceeds there-of used to compensate the victims of this crime,” he declared.

The SEC had three years ago disclaimed the activities of Famzhi Interbiz Limited, warning that neither the entity northe ‘illegal products’ they offer were registered or regulated by the Commission.

He  stated that despite not being registered by the Commission, the company had proceeded to unlawfully solicit funds from the investing public on product(s) neither registered nor approved by the Commission, with the promise of a guaranteed return on investment in clear violation of the Securities and Investment Act (ISA) 2007.

The Commission stated that it had referred the company to the appropriate law enforcement agency for criminal investigation and possible prosecution for violation of the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act 2007 and other relevant laws in Nigeria.

Earlier in his verdict,Justice Ekwo said it is clear that the 1st and 2nd defendants conspired among themselves together with their other staff to do an illegal act.

“That is, to lure and offer for subscription an unregistered investment collective scheme valued over N2 billion to the unsuspecting general public.

“On that note, I find that the offence of conspiracy in count one is proved as required by law and I so hold.”

Justice Ekwo also held that by the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and the exhibits tendered, it was established that the defendants “ran a scheme in pursuance of which members of the public were invited or permitted to invest money in a portfolio for a participatory interest.

“This evidence was never controverted by the defendants. The position of the law as settled in many authorities is that evidence adduced in court, that is relevant to the issue in controversy, and has neither been challenged nor successfully debunked becomes good and credible evidence, which ought to be relied upon by a trial judge.”

He said it was also pertinent to note that the MD herself admitted both in her evidence-in-chief and during cross-examination of running the scheme.

I Sold Human Skulls To Raise N2m For My Mother’s Hospital Bill-Suspect

 Mohammed Shosanya
A suspect arrested by the police with eight human skulls in Isua-Akoko, Ondo State, has confessed involvement in the crime, saying he was trying to raise N2million to pay for his sick mother’s treatment in the hospital.
Yusuf Adenoyin, 31, told journalists when he was paraded at the Police Command headquarters at Alagbaka, Akure that he was into palm oil business, but due to economic downturn he got introduced to selling of human skulls.
He disclosed that the doctor treating his sick mother in a hospital in Kogi State told him that he needed a sum of N2 million to get her treated.
He said he diversified to selling human skulls in his desire to save her mother’s life
He disclosed that he met a herbalist on the social media and the man told him he needed human skulls to buy if he could source for them.
Adenoyin,who is based on Osogbo, Osun State capital,said that he met one man, who is currently at large, who introduced him to the skull merchandise.
He revealed that he buys skulls from someone who sources the consignment from graveyards.
According to him,he buys at the rate N20,000 per skull, while he sells to his customers in Osun State at the rate of N30,000 and N35,000 each.
The eight skulls found in his possession by the police were dry and with a certain fresh flesh which he claims to be heart of a dog.
Briefing newsmen on the arrest of the suspect, the state Police Commissioner, Abayomi Oladipo said Adenoyin was arrested on Monday by officers attached to Policr Safer Highway patrol at Isua/Epinmi checkpoint.
He disclosed that when the commercial vehicle in which the suspect was travelling was flagged down and immediately the vehicle stopped, the suspect took to his heels. But he was chased and arrested by the police.
When his baggage was searched, 8 dry human skulls were seen wrapped in a polythene bag and concealed in a sack filled with garri.
Adenoyin confessed that the eight skulls were the third set of skulls he would be supplying to his clients.
The Commissioner Police assured that he would be arraigned immediately after the completion of investigation into the crime.
Women in Energy Network Honours Shell MD

L-R: Executive Secretary, Women in Energy Network (WIEN), Asanimo Omezi; WIEN President, Eyono Fatayi-Williams; Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd (SNEPCo), Elohor Aiboni; and SNEPCo Asset and Business Opportunity Manager, Ibiyemi Asaolu, at the presentation of WIEN certificate of honour to Aiboni at SNEPCo headquarters, Lagos… on Tuesday.
Heritage Bank: ASSBIFI Seeks Payment Of Workers’ Entitlements

Mohammed Shosanya

The Association of Senior Staff of Banks,Insurance and Financial Institutions,ASSBIFI,has implored the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation to consider settlement and compensation for the workers of liquidated Heritage Bank Plc.

Its National President,Comrade Olusoji Oluwole,who said this in a statement on Wednesday,expressed concern about the fate of the association’s members who have invested multiple decades of their active lives in the service of the bank.

Their future ,he said,now hangs in the balance, as there is no mention of plans to settle the workers in the CBN and NDIC publications and liquidation process.

He said he’s genuinely disturbed, because Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions National Secretariat vulnerable workers should not be unfairly treated, used and discarded without settlement of some sort.

He said:”Coming at a time when the economy is in serious crisis with hyperinflation and high unemployment rate leading to job cuts, it is most disheartening that vulnerable workers who faithfully and committedly put in their best for decades in the Bank would be abandoned to perish in penury.

“While the NDIC Act excludes staff related accounts from the insurance premium, we appeal that the predicament of members is considered when payments are made to other depositors based on the harsh economic realities”.

He implored the Central Bank of Nigeriaand other regulators in the banking industry to deeply investigate the transactions and activities that caused the collapse of Heritage Bank, and invoke appropriate actions to recover debts while applying sanctions and penalties against any Institutions or persons found guilty.

He stated that the recent Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) order revoking the Operational License and Liquidation of Heritage Bank Plc did not come to the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) as a surprise.

According to him,the situation could have been avoided if the regulatory Authorities had heeded to the various clamor from staff, ASSBIFI and the public on the plight of Heritage Bank.

He said,no decisive action was seen to have been taken to stem the fate that eventually befell the institution on 3, June 2024.

“You will recall that sometime in June 2021, staff of the bank in Abuja gathered at the home of an alleged debtor, a prominent politician to recover unpaid debts to the bank.

He added:”In 2023, we called the attention of the public to the insensitive disengagement of over sixty-five (65) workers under the guise of reorganization, who had put in decades of service to the bank without commensurate compensation as stated in the Labor Act and ILO conventions.

“Rather than acting responsibly and doing the right thing through mediation with the Honorable Minister of Labour and Employment, the Management chose to hide behind the cover of the court of law. This has been their behaviour as reported in recent times through other court judgements against them.

“In March 2024, The National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) also raised same alarm, yet no decisive actions were taken”.


My fellow Nigerians, let me begin by congratulating all of us for witnessing the celebration of another Democracy Day today, the 12th day of June 2024. This year also marks our nation’s 25 years of uninterrupted democratic governance.

On this day, 31 years ago, we entered our rites of passage to becoming a true and enduring democratic society.

Going through this passage was hard and dangerous. During the fateful six years that followed, we fought and struggled for our natural rights as human beings put on this earth by the divine hand of our Creator.

We lost great heroes and heroines along the way. In this struggle, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, the most significant symbol of our democratic struggle, his wife, Kudirat, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Pa Alfred Rewane, among others sacrificed their very lives.

They bravely surrendered their futures, so that our nation might have a better one.

Let us honour the memories of Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Frank Kokori, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Ganiyu Dawodu, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chima Ubani, and others who have transited to the higher realm.

The sacrifices of General Alani Akinrinade, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Ralph Obioha, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, among many others, should never be forgotten. For at least six years, they bore the pains and difficulties of life in exile.

While the exiled pro-democracy activists kept the fire burning, their comrades at home sustained the pressure on the military brass hats. Among the latter are Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana, Abdul Oroh, Senator Shehu Sani, Governor Uba Sani, Chief Olu Falae, and other National Democratic Coalition leaders such as Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Ayo Opadokun.

The sacrifices they made, and the precious gift brought about by their selfless devotion can never be repaid. Neither shall it be forgotten.

We could not have won the battle against military dictatorship without the irrepressible Nigerian journalists who mounted the barricades along with the pro-democracy activists. We celebrate them today, along with their media establishments such as The Punch, Guardian, National Concord, Tribune, The News/Tempo, and TELL Magazines.

Military authorities proscribed these media establishments and jailed their journalists for standing for free speech and civil liberties.

Despite the lethal might of the military government, what appeared to be high and unyielding walls of dictatorship came tumbling down. The dismal fortress exists no longer.

The power of an idea, the power of the people proved more potent than all the guns and munitions, and the threats of the strongmen.

The nation exited the yoke of military rule in 1999 to become the most populous democracy on African soil, the beacon of democratic self-determination for the black race and one of the largest democracies in the world.

This change stands as a pivotal moment in human history. From this change, we shall never turn, nor shall the annals of mankind’s progress forget the sublime meaning of this great moment.

Today, 25 years later, we celebrate the silver anniversary of our journey in democracy.

We have steadied the course.

Democracy is neither a foreign nor abstract concept devoid of real-life meaning for us. Neither can we afford to reduce or minimalise it to being nothing but the mere holding of periodic elections where one candidate and party outdo another.

While elections attract dramatic attention, they are but one aspect of democracy. Democracy is a way of life that encompasses a broad outlook of which elections are but a part. As such, a nation can have elections without being democratic. But a nation cannot be truly democratic without holding elections.

That we have established a tradition of holding transparent, open, and fair elections gives credence to our democratic bearing. That we have experienced peaceful transitions of government affirms our democratic temperament.

Fellow Nigerians, true democracy shines its light into the daily lives of the people who live under its nurturing wings. It affords us the freedom and liberty to think as we want, live where we want and pursue whatever legitimate endeavour that suits us.

Democracy does not assume some false or forced unity of opinion. In fact, democracy assumes that conflicting ideas and differing opinions shall be the order of the day. Given the diversity and variety of the human experience, there must be diverse perspectives and viewpoints.

What democracy demands is that we do not resolve differences through force and repression. But we make allowance for the legitimacy of views that differ from our own.

Where other forms of government impose against the will of the people, democracy aims to make leaders sufficiently humble that they conduct themselves as servants of the common good, not as viceroys of the narrow interests of the mighty.

My dear compatriots, Nigeria faced a decision of untold gravity twenty-five years ago: Whether to veer toward a better destination or continue aimlessly in the fog of dictatorship.

We made the right choice then. We must continue with that choice now.

As Nigerians, we must remind ourselves that no matter how complicated democracy may be, it is the best form of governance in the long run. We must also be aware that there are those among us who will try to exploit current challenges to undermine, if not destroy, this democracy for which so much has already been given.

These people do this not to make things better but to subject all other people and things to their control and dominance until the point that, if you are not counted among their elite, then your life will be small and no longer owned by you.

This is the great battle of our day and the major reason we specially celebrate this Democracy day.

Fellow Nigerians, our Democracy is more than a historic fact. It is a living, breathing reality.

The true meaning of this day is not to focus solely on the great deeds of the past that have brought us to this point.

Yes, we pay eternal honour to those who laid down their lives, sacrificing everything to pave the way for the nation.

I stand uniquely placed in this regard. I was among those who took the risk to midwife the birth of our democracy. I am now a direct and obvious beneficiary of the fruits of those historic efforts.

As president of this nation, I am morally and constitutionally bound to preserve this precious form of governance. I vow to do my utmost best to protect your rights, freedoms, and liberties as citizens of Nigeria.

Even more than that, I pledge to do whatever is necessary to cement democracy as our way of life.

Although the challenges are steep and multiple, I am grateful to lead Nigeria at this moment in her history and point in her democratic journey.

I come before you also to declare that our most important work remains before us. This real test has never been whether we would rise to challenge the slings of misfortune and grievous pain of dictatorship.

The real test is whether we shall lower our guards as the shadow of despotism and its evident physical danger fade.

I say to you here and now that as we celebrate the enshrinement of our political democracy, let us commit ourselves to the fulfilment of its equally important counterpart, the realisation of our economic democracy.

I understand the economic difficulties we face as a nation.

Our economy has been in desperate need of reform for decades. It has been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed foundation of over-reliance on revenues from the exploitation of oil.

The reforms we have initiated are intended to create a stronger, better foundation for future growth. There is no doubt the reforms have occasioned hardship. Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the economy over the long run so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour.

As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you.

In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict.

No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy.

I take on this vital task without fear or favour and I commit myself to this work until we have built a Nigeria where no man is oppressed.

In the end, our national greatness will not be achieved by travelling the easy road. It can only be achieved by taking the right one.

The words of the American President Franklin Roosevelt certainly ring true:

” There are many ways of going forward. But only one way of standing still”!

We dare not slumber lest the good things awaiting our immediate future pass us by. We dare not plant our feet in idle standstill in the middle of the intersection of hope and despair.

We know the proper way forward and we shall take it!

The initial rays of a brighter tomorrow now appear on the early horizon. An abundant future and our capacity to achieve that future lie within our reach. Democracy and the institutions it begets offer to take us to our profound destination.

Let us board this progressive train together. Together, let us move Nigeria forward.

Let’s continue to keep the fire of democracy burning. Let’s keep the torch lit for generations to come.

May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and preserve our democracy.

I wish us all Happy Democracy Day.


Egbin Power, Sahara Foundation Donate To Ijede General Hospital

Mohammed Shosanya

Egbin Power Plc and Sahara Group Foundation have donated a fully-equipped Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to the General Hospital Ijede, Lagos to reinforce their commitment to the advancement of healthcare services in Nigeria.

The new 5-bed ICU will further increase capacity for critical patient care and advance emergency response capabilities in Lagos State, a statement said.

Commissioning the facility, Egbin Power and Sahara Group Foundation emphasized that the initiative underscores their commitment to promoting access to quality critical healthcare services, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 which aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for people of all ages.”

At the handover ceremony, the CEO of Egbin Power, Mokhtar Bounour, emphasized that the donation was a testament to the company’s enduring commitment to the development of the host communities, noting that the ICU would significantly enhance the hospital’s capacity to provide critical care to those who need it most.

“At Egbin Power Plc, we believe that the strength of a community is reflected in the well-being of its people. As one of the largest power generation companies in Nigeria, we have always been committed to not only powering homes and industries but also to empowering lives. The impact of this donation will be far-reaching, improving emergency response, and strengthening overall healthcare delivery in the state.

“To the healthcare professionals who will be working in this ICU, we entrust this facility into your capable hands. Your dedication and expertise are the bedrock of the healthcare system. We are confident that you will provide exceptional care and restore hope to countless patients and their families.

“Our commitment to community development does not end here. At Egbin Power Plc, we will continue to seek out opportunities to contribute meaningfully to the society in which we operate. Whether through health, education, or environmental sustainability initiatives, our mission is to make a positive impact that resonates for generations to come,” Bounour said.

Director of Governance and Sustainability, Sahara Group Foundation, Ejiro Gray, noted that hitherto, access to critical healthcare services was not easily accessible to patients in the community due to the distance of the available ICU, thereby causing several avoidable losses of lives.

She said: “We don’t have a lot of this facility in Lagos State, and even in Nigeria. One can only imagine how many lives that must have been lost because we didn’t have this sort of facility for critical cases. The time and logistics it took to get critically ill patients to a healthcare facility that has an ICU was a challenge.

“We took a step further in establishing the ICU facility, equipping it with quality infrastructure and equipment to create a fully-fledged ICU in this part of the state. This has therefore brought critical care services closer to the people,” she explained.

Gray further reaffirmed the commitment of both Sahara Group Foundation and Egbin Power to fostering sustainability and building a resilient future.

Acting Chief Medical Director, General Hospital Ijede, Dr. Olumuyiwa Balogun-Oluwa, commended the collaboration of Sahara Group Foundation and Egbin Power Plc which gave birth to the donation of the ICU, noting the facility will serve people in Ikorodu community and Lagos State at large.

He said: “General Hospital Ijede has moved to the next level of healthcare, a level occupied by not many general hospitals in the state, that is, a hospital with an ICU. We are grateful to Sahara Group Foundation and Egbin Power.

“The commissioning today is a further step towards fulfilling the vision statement which is to be one of the best hospitals in the environment, and I believe we are very close to achieving it. The facility will be primarily used for the benefit of the Ikorodu community and Lagos State in general. We intend to get all our staff prepared and trained for the commencement of work,” Dr. Balogun-Oluwa explained.

Dignitaries at the occasion included Commissioner II, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Dr. Mobolaji Olukoya; Director, Medical Services, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Dr. Adegbite Olawale; Director of Nursing Services, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Dr. Adebukola Cole; Medical Director, General Hospital Ikorodu, Dr. Taiwo Hassan; Medical Director, General Hospital Agbowa, Dr. Femi Aletan and immediate past Chief Medical Director, General Hospital Ijede, Dr. Abimbola Okudero.

Others were Baale of Ipakan, High Chief Mustapha Lasisi; Prince Yussuf Bello, representing Egbin Kingdom as well as the Community Liaison Officers representing Ijede.

Among the Personal Corporate Social Responsibility (PCSR) programmes carried out by Egbin Power to promote quality health for residents in the host communities include, the 3-day annual medical outreach designed to cover cardiovascular, arthritis, dental and diabetes screening.

The participants at the medical outreach are provided free quality medications after careful examinations by qualified medical practitioners.

Besides,Egbin supplies free uninterrupted electricity to General Hospital Ijede, delivers free hospital-grade oxygen to hospitals within Ikorodu, and quarterly donates medications that are administered free of charge to patients.

Electricity Tariff: 300 Companies Close Shop In Two Months

Mohammed Shosanya

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Tuesday said the recent hike in electricity tariff in Nigeria,has caused closure of over 300 companies and 380,000 job losses over the past two months.

Senator Ahmed Abdulkadir disclosed this spoke on behalf of MAN in Abuja, during the investigative hearing into organised by the Joint Committees on Power, Commerce, National Planning & Economic Development and Delegated Legislations.

He observed that electricity related expenses of a manufacturing concern constitute about 40% of the production overhead.

He emphasized urgent need for the present administration to address the rising case of insecurity, as more workers may be disengaged due to high cost of doing business occasioned by the astronomical hike in electricity tariff.

One of the companies which employed about 360,000 workers,he said,has drastically reduced its workforce to about 5,000 due to the present economic realities.

According to him,the Association is only aware of the initial case hearing held sometime in 2023 for a 40% increase in the electricity tariff rate and not an astronomical increase of over 200% targeted at 15% of the NERC’s customers including major stakeholders of the Nigerian economy today.

He added:“Contrary to the position of NERC, we are aware that the Supplementary order of 3rd April 2024 which increased the electricity tariff rate from N68 to N225 per Kwhr was never brought to the notice of the public as noted by NERC,” Senator Abdulkadir noted.

He further alleged that the Discos had failed to comply with the Guidelines for consumer consultation before applying to NERC for the increase of the electricity tariff rate.

Speaking,Minister of Power,Mr. Adebayo Adelabu disclosed that the introduction of Band A which has higher tariff has reduced electricity subsidy to N1 trillion from approximately N3 trillion.

He said that without an increase in electricity tariffs,the subsidy would have surged to about N3 trillion, a figure the government could not afford.

Presenting NERC’s position, Mr. Sanusi Garuba disclosed that energy invoices submitted by the DISCOs was N260 billion per month, while the GENCOs pay the sum of N20 billion.

According to him,the 2023 fiscal year closed with the electricity subsidy of N460 billion as a result of generation companies’ refusal to pay for the gas supply.

He maintained that the change in government’s economic policy as announced by the current administration in May 2023 which led to the fuel subsidy removal, hike in foreign exchange, among others have significant correlation with the hike in electricity tariff.

Noting that the N240 billion electricity subsidy per month in 2024 fiscal year is unsustainable,he said that the country cannot afford the N2.8 trillion for this year.

According to him,the only budgetary provisions in the 2024 Appropriation Act stands at N450 billion.

Declaring the hearing open, Speaker Tajudeen Abbas who was represented by his Deputy, Hon. Benjamin Kalu affirmed that the hike in the electricity tariff “has not been well-received by our citizens. Numerous voices, including organized labor and industry experts, have voiced their strong opposition to this decision.

“The fears expressed by many are valid – that such a sharp increase in electricity tariffs will only exacerbate the economic hardships already faced by our people. There are genuine concerns that higher utility bills resulting from this tariff hike could have a ripple effect on operational costs for businesses, potentially leading to increased prices for goods and services.”

Chairman,House Committee on Power, Hon. Victor Nwokolo explained that the special committee was set up pursuant to a resolution of the House approving an investigation into the circumstances and rationale for the recent tariff review announced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

According to him, “NERC as regulator of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) approved a request by the eleven distribution companies to increase tariff for the so-called Band A customers from N64 to N225 per kilowatts hour. NERC announced that by this new tariff, customers in Band A would be receiving at least 20 hours of electricity supply everyday.

“Since this announcement, we have received a lot of complaints about misgivings on both the process and the substance of the regulatory action of NERC.

“Many of the complaints relate to the lack of consultation by the regulator as required by law before approving the increase. Others relate to the lack of 20 hours of electricity supply as promised by the regulator which has not been delivered.”

We Didn’t Owe N1. 3bn Electricity Bill,Enugu Govt Reples EEDC

Mohammed Shosanya

The Enugu State Government has faulted claims the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC,that it was indebtedto the company to the tune of N1.3bn.

The government explained that besides prompt payment of all electricity bills received from the EEDC since May 2023, the Governor Peter Mbah Administration had equally cleared two months backlog of debts in line with the governor’s commitment to offset all legitimate electricity debts inherited from his predecessors.

The government stated this in a letter to the EEDC Managing Director/CEO dated Tuesday, June 11, 2024 and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia.

The letter entitled, “Re: Notice of Disconnections to Indebted Customers and Actual Disconnections of Enugu State Government Offices”, reads in part, “Enugu State Government received the disconnection notice published in national daily newspapers. We have also received the information that EEDC has disconnected some Enugu State government institutions.

“We note that both the publication of notice of disconnections and the actual disconnections on Saturday 8th June, 2024 were based on wrong premises and total disregard to NERC rules and standing Order on estimated billing of Maximum demand customers.

“Accordingly, the state government notes as follows: That EEDC letter dated 7 June 2024 addressed to His Excellency the Governor of Enugu State that the outstanding electricity bill is N1,319,571,131.21.

“That the said outstanding electricity bills are estimated billing of Maximum demand agencies and parastatals of the state government carried over from the last administration as the current administration has diligently and promptly paid all bills received from May 2023 to date including 2 months from the carried over bill which it has shown commitment in good faith to settle.

“That NERC Order NO/NERC/197/2020 paragraph 13 subsection (a) states: ‘Any Maximum demand agencies and parastatals customer not provided with meter by 1 March 2017 shall not pay any electricity bills presented by a DisCo on the basis of estimated billing methodology and these customers are advised to report to the Commission.

“Paragraph 13 subsection (b) states No DisCo shall disconnect any Maximum demand agencies and parastatals customers that were not metered by 1March 2024 on the basis of the customer’s refusal to pay an invoice issued on the basis of estimated billing after the compliance deadline.”

The government stated, “Considering the provisions of NERC Order, the recent disconnections of government offices, parastatals viz: College of Medicine ESUT Teaching hospital, Housing development corporation, State Secretariat, etc. is unlawful, callous and has inflicted malicious damages to the image and integrity of the state government. These acts are vexatious and completely unacceptable.”

“Therefore, the government demands detailed bills and the accounts statements/histories of the government agencies that make up the claimed state’s indebtedness to EEDC for forensic audit investigations.

“The government further demands immediate and total metering of al its agencies in line with NERC Order.”

In furtherance of the rights of the state government agencies, the government additionally demanded a refund of its electricity infrastructure investment from which it said EEDC had made so much money as well as a retraction of false claim of the state’s indebtedness to it, which government insists was defamatory.

“Following the NERC Order NO/197/2020, the government hereby notifies EEDC management that it will no longer pay any electricity bills based on the estimated billing methodology.

“The government notes that it has carried out electricity infrastructure intervention projects investment totaling N2,979,334,305.19 from which EEDC collects revenue. The government demands payments for the investment costs and other debts owed by EEDC to the government.

“Finally, the government demands immediate retraction of the malicious publication and immediate reconnection of all disconnected government agencies as the basis for a truce,” the government concluded.