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Market Digest Nigeria

Economy

Declare electricity tariff, fuel price hike illegal- SERAP

SERAP and 302 Nigerians have sued President Muhammadu Buhari and National Assembly on the hike in electricity tariff and the pump price of fuel.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 302 Nigerians have sued President Muhammadu Buhari and National Assembly on the hike in electricity tariff and the pump price of fuel.

SERAP and other applicants are asking the court to “declare as illegal, unconstitutional and unfair the recent hike in electricity tariff and fuel price because top level public officers cannot continue to receive the same salaries and allowances and spend public money to finance a life of luxury for themselves while asking poor Nigerians to make sacrifices”.

Joined in the suit are: Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); Senate President Ahmad Lawan; House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila; and Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

SERAP is seeking a declaration that the exercise of President Buhari’s power to increase price of petrol under Section 6 of the Petroleum Act 1969 and increase of electricity tariff is arbitrary, unjust, unfair, and in breach of his oath of office in the Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The suit, filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, reads: “Public duty means showing leadership by example and commitment to the ideals of public service, including by reducing salaries and allowances of high-ranking public officers like the Defendants.

“The Nigerian Constitution is founded on the rule of law the primary meaning of which is that everything must be done according to law. It also means that government should be conducted within the framework of recognised rules and principles, which restrict discretionary power.

“The court, being the last hope of the common man, must come to the aid of the poor and socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians by granting the reliefs sought by SERAP and 302 concerned Nigerians.”

It asked the court for a declaration that it is unlawful and unconstitutional for President Buhari, Osinbajo, Lawan and Gbajabiamila to continue to receive the same salaries and allowances and the same level of budgetary allocations, despite Nigeria’s current economic realities and light of the Public Procurement Act 2007, constitutional code of conduct for public officers, and their oaths of office in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

It is asking for a declaration that the failure of RMAFC to reduce the salaries, allowances and other emoluments for President Buhari, Osinbajo, Lawan and Gbajabiamila and other principal public officers, despite their roles in the increase of electricity tariff and fuel price, is in breach of the principle of equality before the law and equal application of the law, and Section 153 [1] [n] and Paragraph [N] 32[b] [c] [d] in Part 1 Third Schedule of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 [as amended].

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