By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of Emergency on the power sector following challenges facing the sector.
The decision followed a motion of Urgent Public Importance moved by Rep. Nnolim Nnaji (PDP-Enugu) during plenary presided over by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila Thursday.
Presenting the motion tagged “Urgent Need to Declare State of Emergency in the Power Sector”, Nnolim emphasised that the challenges in the sector were connected to most of the country’s problems.
“Absence of electricity for long periods causes discomfort and hampers productivity. It is also a known fact that electricity consumption has become a parameter by which the standard of living as well as the level of industrialisation of a nation is measured.
“There is an ongoing failure of the sector to provide adequate electricity supply to domestic households and industrial producers, despite being a rapidly growing economy.
“At best, average daily power supply is estimated at four hours, although several days can go by without any power at all. We are having a serious decline in power generation, thus the idea of our great nation generating 2,000 to 3,000 MW or less is highly unacceptable,” he said.
The lawmaker said that fixing the energy crises in Nigeria was of paramount importance.
“It will help to reduce crime rate, create employments, reduce health hazards, reduce urban migration, reduce high production costs in our industries, reduce post-harvest losses in agriculture, increase the generation and distribution of water supply, boost small and medium scale entrepreneurs, eradicate poverty, attract foreign investors and generally revitalise the economy and developmental agenda of our nation, ” he said.
He recalled that the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) created in 1972 to generate and distribute electricity failed to live up to its mandate.
“This necessitated the 2005 Electricity Power Sector Reforms (EPSR) Act that gave birth to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), with powers to regulate the sector, thus NEPA was renamed Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN),” he said.
Some of the lawmakers also accused the Electricity Distributing Companies (DisCos) of under performing and called for a review of the power sector privatisation.
The house, however, mandated the Committee on Power to urgently call for a public hearing on the current state of electricity generation, transmission and distribution.
“This is to evaluate the real problems and come up with ideas on how we can expand our energy sources beyond hydro and gas plants to include coal, solar and other renewable sources of energy.
“The committee should exercise their oversight powers by visiting NERC and other relevant agencies under the Ministry of Power, with a View to ensuring absolute compliance with all the provisions of the existing Acts.”
The house further directed the committees on Power and on Legislative Compliance to ensure prompt implementation of the motion and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.