By Adedapo Adesanya
A Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, has ordered the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to provide prepaid meters to all its consumers in the town.
This directive was given by Justice Babs Kuewumi while delivering judgment in a suit with number FHC/AD/CS/03/2019 on Friday, February 19 in Ado-Ekiti.
Mr Ibukun Ogundipe, President of Ado-Ekiti Residents Consumers Association and four others had instituted a suit against the energy firm, alleging outrageous billing and non-metering of consumers.
Other reliefs by the plaintiffs included the order of the court to declare null and void the purported outrageous billing and withdrawal of BEDC licence by the Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), among others.
Justice Kuewumi in his judgment granted two of the seven reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.
On the issue of an order for the revoke of the licence of the first respondent, (BEDC) by NERC, the judge said it is only the second respondent, NERC that has the discretionary power to do so.
“On the issue of declaring outrageous billing of consumers by BEDC through the estimated billing methodology null and void, the the first respondent has proven that it is working in line with the regulation of NERC, while the plaintiffs’ relief is struck out on the ground of prove of want.
“However, the court orders that the first respondent, (BEDC) provides prepaid meters to all its consumers, to forestall any challenge that may arise thereof,” Justice Kuewumi ordered.
Speaking on the judgement, counsel to BEDC, Mr Peter Akhatsokhe, said his client had commenced the process of metering its consumers, which the court also advised.
The plaintiffs were represented by Mr Oyebola Basanwo, while their spokesperson, Dr Ibukun Ogundipe, said community would be seeking a second opinion in an appeal court on the ruling on the “outrageous estimated billing.”
NGA Calls for Multiple Approach to Energy Transition
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) has called for a multidimensional approach to energy transition in Africa amid the lingering global energy crisis and increased calls for the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions.
NGA cautioned that Africa needs to be cautious and consider all the pertinent issues in transitioning from fossil fuel to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of the association, Mr Odianosen Masade, fossil transition in developed economies has been going on for over a century, whilst Africa was expected to transition over a few decades.
“Africa accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, at just 3.8 per cent, in contrast to 23 per cent in China, 19 per cent in the United States, and 13 per cent in the European Union.
“Africa is also the least industrialized of all the continents in the world, yet one of the most vulnerable to climate change,” he noted.
Mr Masade, who is the Corporate Communications Lead at Eroton Exploration & Production Company, also provided insights into challenges inhibiting Nigeria from maximizing the opportunities presented by the conflict in Ukraine, which has reduced the global supply of gas.
He disclosed that the lack of political will, as well as Nigeria’s lack of critical infrastructure, were some of the greatest reasons for Nigeria’s disadvantaged position.
“One such infrastructure that would have generated significant income for the country is the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline, which will traverse Nigeria, Niger and Algeria across the Sahara desert to Europe.
“It is estimated that once completed, the $13 billion pipeline would transport up to 30 billion cubic meters (1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas per annum from Warri in Nigeria, through Niger and Algeria on to Europe,” he stated.
In July, the oil ministers of the three countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and agreed to set up a task force for the project with the aim of updating an existing feasibility study.
The idea to pipe gas across the Sahara to Europe was first conceived more than 40 years ago. In 2009, an agreement was signed by the three gas-rich countries, but progress has stalled since then.
TSGP, also known as the NIGAL pipeline, may now move closer to becoming reality as Europe attempts to cut its strong dependency on Russian gas.
IGP Authorises Stop & Search, Raids, Others to Tackle Crime
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of adequate security around schools, hospitals, and critical national infrastructures across the country.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said the IGP has also ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality in some states of the federation.
“The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of water-tight security arrangements to cover all schools, hospitals, health workers, and critical national infrastructures around the country,” the statement added.
“The IGP has equally ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids, and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality recorded in some states of the federation,” it further said.
Mr Baba gave the directive while reviewing the reports he received from various commands and formations on the general security situations across the country.
He tasked strategic police managers at various levels to prioritize the use of intelligence gathering networks while charging officers and men of the force to take the fight against crime to the doorsteps of suspected criminal elements with a view to flushing them from their hideouts.
The IGP also called for the cooperation of members of the public, warning police officers to be civil, professional, and humane in the course of discharging their duties.
SERAP Begs INEC to Allow 7 million Nigerians Complete Voter Registration
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow seven million Nigerians to complete their voter registration.
SERAP made the call in a statement on Sunday through its Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, warning that the failure of the electoral body to grant this request could attract legal action.
According to the rights group, INEC recently disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the process at physical centres.
SERAP believes that the right to vote is also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process so that it can be effectively exercised.
“The right to vote is not merely the right to cast a ballot but also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process, so that the right can be meaningfully and effectively exercised,” the statement read.
“Closing the gates on eligible Nigerians and denying them the time and opportunity to complete their registration cannot preserve trust in the electoral process.
“Denying a significant number of eligible voters the time and opportunity to complete the registration for their PVCs would impair the right to vote of those affected, deny them a voice in the 2023 elections, and lead to disparate and unfair treatment of these voters,” it submitted.
The organisation noted that, “According to a report released by INEC, out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 Nigerians representing 32.8 per cent, completed the process at a physical centre. 7,043,594 Nigerians carried out their pre-registration but are yet to complete the process at a physical centre.
“This represents over 67 per cent of those who began their registration process online.
“According to INEC, a total of 12,298,944 Nigerians completed their voter registration; 8,854,566 of which were persons who did their registration entirely at a physical centre.
“The over seven million Nigerians have already completed their registration online, that is, via INEC online portal by providing their biodata and required documents.”
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