By Paul Sanusi
Justice Mohammed Idris of a Lagos Federal High Court, Wednesday, nullified the increment in electricity tariff recently announced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The judge, while delivering judgment in a suit filed by a human rights lawyer, Toluwani Yemi Adebiyi, against NERC, described the hike as “procedurally ultra vires, irrational, irregular and illegal”.
“NERC acted outside the powers conferred on it by the Act, and failed to follow the prescribed procedures”, the court said.
The court was also of the view that “NERC has not shown that it acted in due obedience to the prescribed procedures and that there is no evidence that NERC complied with Section 76(6)(7)and (9) of the EPSRA Act.
The court further held that “of all the legal requirements, it appeared the only one complied with by NERC was that it announced the new tariff in the newspapers.
The court also ruled that the NERC defied its May 28, 2015 order to parties that status quo be maintained. The court concluded that the hike was “hasty, reckless and irresponsible”.
“NERC is hereby directed to reverse to the status quo and the commission is hereby restrained from further increasing electricity tariff except it comply strictly with the relevant provisions of the EPSRA”, the court ruled. Moreover, a judgement cost of N50,000, was awarded against NERC.