The House of Representatives on Thursday charged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of Emergency on the power sector.
The decision follows the adoption of a motion sponsored by Rep. Nnolim Nnaji (PDP-Enugu) during plenary presided over by the House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Presenting the motion tagged: “Urgent need to declare state of emergency in the power sector,” Rep. Nnaji 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 as it will help reduce crime rate, create employment, reduce health hazards, reduce urban migration, reduce high production costs in industries and reduce post-harvest losses in agriculture.
Also, he added the sector if fixed will further increase 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 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.
Lawmakers in contributing to debate on the motion accused the Electricity Distributing Companies (DisCos) of under- performing and called for a review of the power sector privatisation.
The House, however, mandated its committee on power to hold a public hearing on the current state of electricity generation, transmission and distribution.
The hearing, it stated, will evaluate the real problems plaguing the power sector and come up with ideas on how the country can expand its 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 resolved.
The House further directed its committees on power and that on legislative compliance to ensure prompt implementation of the motion and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.