Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Monday pledged that the National Assembly would act to ensure that the electricity tariff hike is resolved in the interest of the people.
Addressing the rally comprising of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other electricity consumers who besieged the National Assembly Complex, Abuja to protest the recent increment in electricity charges across the country, Saraki reiterated the commitment of the 8th National Assembly to collaborate with the executive arm of government in entrenching policies that are people-friendly.
He said that the Senate believes in the struggle to ensure that the right thing is done and therefore, it will do everything within the shortest possible time to resolve the impasse between the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) and electricity consumers in order to avert any further unrest.
Saraki while addressing the labour leaders and members of the civil society organizations, said: “I welcome you to this place because it belongs to you. We are only tenants for four years. We are here to serve the Nigerian people. I want to assure you that the 8th National Assembly is for the people.
“Even before now, we have observed that this issue of tariff increase and some of the policies were not palatable. We have summoned the NERC even before now. We are with you, we will stand with you and ensure that no policy will in any way exist that is not palatable to the Nigerian people.
“Yes, we all want power, yes, we want improvement, but not at the detriment of the masses. There must be consultations because we are here at your instance. You cannot make laws and policies without the people.
“I want to assure you this afternoon that the 8th National Assembly will always stand for what will ensure the survival of the masses. We are not blind, we are not deaf, we can see the problem. Give us time and we will engage with the Executive and ensure that the right thing is done.
“We will do the right thing and consult with you and we will agree where we have to agree and where we don’t agree, we will find the best solution. At the end of the day, whatever we do must be in the interest of the people of Nigeria,” he said.
In their separate remarks, the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and his TUC counterpart, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, argued that the Labour Unions resorted to protest having exhausted other legitimate dispute resolution framework and dialogue to stop the NERC and Discos from increasing the electricity tariff.
The labour leaders however urged the National Assembly to rescue the Nigerian consumers from what they described as “extortion and over-billing of consumers” who are not metered in accordance with the signed privatization Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that provides that all electricity consumers be metered.