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18 April 2017
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) is calling on the entire Ajegunle People, residents, workers, market men and women, artisan, students, youth and unemployed to stand on their feet and defend the historic July 13, 2016 judgment of Honorable Justice Mohammed B. Idris of the Federal High Court of Nigeria (Ikoyi), whose order was that the power companies (GENCOs and DISCOs) reverse the 45% unlawful increment of electricity tariff of N24: 00kw/h back to the old rate of N11: 00kw/h.
The judgment emphatically states that "1. THAT the increment of electricity tariffs which took effect after the institution of this action and while the order that status quo ante bellum be maintained was subsisting is hereby declared illegal and same is hereby set aside".
Also, the judgment went on in another verse to state again that "2. The 1st Defendant is hereby restrained from further increasing electricity tariffs except in strict compliance with the relevant provisions of the EPSRA, and the procedure spelt out in section 76 of the EPSRA."
These private profiteers had gone ahead to implement the hike violating an earlier injunction by the same judge not to increase tariffs pending the determination of the case brought against them by Barrister Toluwani Adebiyi, a Human Right Activist lawyer.
The GENCOs and DISCOs in connivance with government have also deliberately refused to obey the court judgment four months after its pronouncement.
As the poor masses of Ajegunle demonstrated in the protest marches that held EKEDC in June and July 2015 respectively with on the No Light, No Payment campaign, we should begin to organize ourselves peacefully in various communities to reject over-estimated and exploitative bill. In fact, these profiteers that supply us darkness and charge us with mostly crazy bills of N18, 000; N20, 000; N25, 000 and more that is higher than the minimum wage, plan to roll out more increment
We in DSM call on the people of Ajegunle to reject the N24: 00kw/h tariff as it is illegal, exploitative and to be null and void! We should demand its immediately reversal! We demand that EKEDC must obey the court order and end this illegality.
However, not only because the poor masses cannot afford to pay the outrageous billing but also due to the total epileptic power supply in the whole country which continue to fluctuate between 2000 to 4000 megawatts for whole population of more than 180 million people. In other words, we cannot pay for darkness!
Also, the steep-rise in inflation, the worst in Nigerian history from 15.5% in June to 18.5% in December, 2016 has completely eroded the little incomes of the poor masses including workers' wages. In fact, it has resulted to high cost of goods and services and reduced drastically the purchasing power of the masses. While public office-holders like Senators, House of Rep. Members, Governors, President etc have continue to earn mind-boggling and outrageous salaries and allowances. For example, about 18,000 political office holders earn an outrageous N1.5trillion. Yet, for working poor families finding it hard to feed for the day, the N18, 000 poverty wage has been completely butchered by the rising cost of inflation.
However, in a period like this when the economic hardship is drowning a lot of families, a pro-masses government would not have added more to the suffering of people. Unfortunately, the change people voted for has placed chain on their neck because it is a pro-capitalist government. We have seen that the privatization of the power sector for past three years is a monumental failure.
Despites promises of metering every consumer within the space of 18months of privatization that started in November 2013, epileptic power supply has been consolidated. A majority of the population who pay through their nothingness has no pre-paid metres, while outrageous estimated billing is the cynosure of it all. EKEDC has argued that issuing out to all consumers free effective prepaid metre will cost so much.
But the truth behind their fallacy is that estimated billing, which is a rip-off, gives much more money to the power companies than the standard billing through pre-paid metres. That's why we should begin to organize ourselves to demand free prepaid metre, uninterrupted and stable power supply and also demand the nationalization of the power industry from the hands of the profiteers who since 2013 till date have been making billions of naira through exploitative billing.
In the light of the power crisis, recent report reveals that N213 billion bail-out given to the power private companies by the Federal government has no effect whatsoever. Yet with another N309 billion Federal government bonds soon to be released to these private profiteers, nothing suggests that there will be fundamental improvement.
This is why members of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and activists collectively demand the nationalization of the power industry placed under democratic control and management of democratic elected representatives of electricity workers, professionals, community representatives, students and the poor mass to end inefficiency and corruption.
We also call on the NLC and the entire trade union movement to unite in struggle and organize all sections of the working people against the continual exploitation by the private companies supplying the mass darkness.
i. Rejecting all bills bearing the tariff of N24: 00kw/h and insist they go back to N11: 00kw/h ordered by the court.
ii. Barricade your street and community with a united voice of No Payment for Darkness and Disconnection!
iii. Begin to demand free effective prepaid metre to end over-estimated billing issue every month.
iv. Put in place a democratically elected action committee that will organize the masses against crazy bill, tariff hike and electricity privatisation.
v. Hold regular meetings and discussions in your communities in order to sensitize people about a united campaign against no payment for darkness and electricity privatization.
vi. Be peaceful and don't embark on attacking electricity workers because they are not the real problem but the government that implements policies of privatization.