Coalition petitions UN over higher electricity tariffs

A coalition of human rights activists, labour, journalists and lawyers have moved against the recent increase in electricity tariffs in Nigeria by petitioning the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona.

In the petition dated 6 Sept. 2013, the coalition requested the Special Rapporteur to send “an urgent appeal to the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to delay the increased fixed rate electricity tariffs until the government is able to put in place mechanisms to ensure regular and uninterrupted electricity supply, and to carry out the impact assessment of the increase on people living in extreme poverty.”

According to the coalition, “by introducing fixed rate electricity tariffs, the government is complicit in violating the human rights of people living in poverty and undermining their personal development and prosperity’.

‘We believe that it is premature for the government to increase electricity tariff prior to taking effective measures to guarantee and ensure regular and uninterrupted electricity supply across the country,” the coalition said in a joint statement made available to PANA in Nigeria’s economic capital city of Lagos on Sunday

“We believe that the increased fixed rate electricity tariffs by over a hundred percent without corresponding increase in electricity supply target some of the most marginalised and impoverished members of Nigerian society, many of whom are struggling with basic living costs and without access to regular electricity,” the coalition added.

Signatories to the petition include the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP); Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ); Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council; Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos State branch; Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja branch; National Union of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE); and Joint Action Front (JAF).

Others are Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC); Women Empowerment and Legal Aid Initiative (WELA); Partnership for Justice (PJ); Campaign for Democratic Workers (CDWR); Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM); Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), and Education Rights Campaign (ERC).

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