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Badagry Residents Commends House of Representatives for Criminalising Estimated Billings by DISCOs

Some residents of Badagry, Lagos State on Wednesday commended the House of Representatives on the passage of a bill criminalising estimated billing of consumers by Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs).

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Badagry, the residents said that the bill would end of years of arbitrary billing and extortion of electricity consumers by DISCOS, if passed into law

NAN reports that the House of Representatives had on Oct. 3 passed the bill which says issuance of estimated billing will attract either a one-year jail term or a fine of ₦1 million or both.

The proposed law would also compel a distribution company to provide prepaid meter to an applicant within 30 days, while barring the DISCOs from disconnecting the consumer after the 30-day period within which meter should be installed.

The Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, presented in the Eighth National Assembly by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, then as Majority Leader, was re-presented in July 2019.

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Mr Samson Nunayon Apata, the Supervisory Councillor for Education and Tourism, Badagry Local Government, described the passage of the bill as a welcome development.

“I wish to commend our Honourable Speaker for being consistent and in touch with the downtrodden.

“Ripping off Nigerians through estimated billing is a financial crime and thank God the House is coming to the rescue of poor electricity consumers from the unscrupulous practice by Discos.

“We can’t wait to see the end of this obnoxious estimated billing regime,” he said.

Apata said the law would wake up DISCOs from their slumber and treat consumers as kings.

Mr Ebenezer Kuponu, Chairman, Badagry Community Development Committee (CDC), also commended the House of Representatives for passing the bill.

According to him, the step will stop DISCOs from extorting innocent consumers through estimated billing.

“We have seen the worst here in Badagry in the hands of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC); they give us crazy bills every month without power supply.

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“They only give us supply at the end of the month when their officials are out to serve us crazy bills.

“The following day, they will come with their ladder to disconnect us from the pole.

”Funnily enough, we will have to pay additional ₦2,000 connection fee to get connected back after we have paid the bill.

“The whole thing is frustrating but thank God, the crazy bill is gradually coming to an end.

“We are imploring the Upper Chamber to follow suit and ensure the bill becomes law,” he said.

Mr Idowu Jimoh, a staff of Public Complaints Commission, Badagry, urged the Senate to also pass the bill, appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily assent to the bill when presented to him.

Jimoh said government should not only ensure that the bill becomes law, but also see to its implementation to save the consumers.

Mrs Chinyere Olorie, a restaurant operator in Badagry, said that EKEDC gave her ₦6,000 monthly bill without regular supply.

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“I have applied for prepaid meter without getting any for years,” she said.

Credits: The NationThe Nation

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Police Arrest Former Lagos Gubernatorial Candidate over Funke Akindele-Bello Party

Former gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Babatunde Gbadamosi, has been detained by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly contravening lockdown order declared by the State Government to curtail coronavirus spread.

Gbadamosi was detained after being spotted in a viral video attending a birthday party organised by Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele-Bello for her husband, Abdul-Rasheed Bello, held in Amen Estate, Ibeju-Lekki axis of the state.

A police source at the command headquarters revealed that Gbadamosi has been detained and may not be released by the law enforcement agency for engaging in an act that was at variance with the law.

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COVID-19: Buhari approves recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the engagement of 774,000 Nigerians on Special Public Works programme in the country to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs Ahmed disclosed this at a press conference on fiscal stimulus measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock, on Monday in Abuja.

She explained that 1, 000 people were expected to be recruited from each of the 774 local government areas in the country.

According to her, the sum of N60 billion for allowances and operational cost has been earmarked from the COVID-19 crisis intervention fund for the initiative.

She disclosed that President Buhari had previously approved a pilot special public works programme in eight states to be implemented by the National Directorate of Employment, NDE.

She added that Buhari had now approved that this programme be extended to all 36 States and the FCT from October to December 2020 and the selected time-frame was to ensure that it was implemented after the planting season.

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“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is also evaluating how best to extend the Special Public Works Programme, to provide modest stipends for itinerant workers to undertake Roads Rehabilitation and Social Housing Construction.

Ahmed said: “And also Urban and Rural Sanitation, Health Extension and other critical services. This intervention will be undertaken in conjunction with the key federal ministries responsible for Agriculture, Environment, Health and Infrastructure, as well as the states, to financially empower individuals who lose their jobs due to the economic crisis.

“Mr. President has approved the establishment of a-N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund. The establishment of the Fund will involve drawing much-needed cash resources from various Special Funds and Accounts, in consultation with and with the approval of the National Assembly.

“The N500 billion is proposed to be utilized to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and approved by Mr. President.

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“This will help to finance the Federal Government’s Interventions to support states in improving healthcare facilities, finance the creation of a Special Public Works programme and Fund any additional interventions that may be approved by Mr. President”.

The minister noted that although similar challenges were experienced in 2008/2009 as well as in 2015/2016, Nigeria had considerably lower fiscal buffers now than in previous economic downturns.

According to her, the decline in international oil prices and domestic production may be magnified if a severe outbreak of COVID-19 occurs, despite ongoing efforts to curtail the spread of the pandemic through compulsory lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the FCT.

The minister said to directly address these health and economic challenges, the president approved the Fiscal Stimulus Package among others as part of an Integrated Policy Framework to ensure that Nigeria’s healthcare system, fiscal position and economy were sufficiently supported to weather these shocks.

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