The 36 state governors have kicked against the ongoing effort by the Senate to amend the Electricity Act through the Electricity Bill before the upper chamber.
The governors argued that the bill works against the interest of the states as it seeks to re-establish a centrally-controlled electricity sector.
Their position is contained in a letter by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi, addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power.
The NGF’s spokesman, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, in a statement on Monday, noted that Fayemi, in the letter dated February 22, 2022,argued that the governors were averse to the Electricity Bill currently before the Senate.
The governors wondered why the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, had in an article, argued that the Electricity Bill 2022 was based on recommendations put together by a team of consultants engaged by the Senate Committee on Power.
They added that the Electricity Bill before the Senate Committee on Power was not a true and fair reflection of stakeholders’ interest in the Nigerian electricity sector, most particularly the state governments, adding that it was also not a true and fair reflection of the Federal executive arm.”
The governors argued that contrary to the views of the Chairman of the Senate Committee of Power, “Clause 2(2) of the Bill is rather injurious to the constitutional rights of states with regards to electricity generation, transmission, and distribution.
They added: “Limiting the powers of state governments to build generation plants, transmission and distribution lines only in areas not covered by the national grid, shrinks the powers of states to make laws for electricity within their state jurisdictions.”
The governors expressed the view that it was important for the Senate to engage the House of Representatives on existing bills on the electricity sector, particularly the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) Amendment Bill 2020 and other bills, which also infringe on the constitutional rights of states to make laws for electricity, with a view to harmonising them into a single draft electricity bill.