By ABAH ADAH, Abuja –
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has commended the recent reversal of the tariff review case by the Appeal Court and the conviction of an electricity equipment vandal by Abakiliki Federal High Court.
The minister made the commendation in his opening speech as the Chairman of the 20th Monthly Power Sector Operators’ Meeting held yesterday in Owerri, the Imo State capital which was made available to LEADERSHIP.
“On behalf of the entire sector we welcome the intervention in the Court of Appeal in the case involving the tariff review. The order of the Trial Court which declared the tariff setting process illegal has been reversed and the case is now to be tried afresh.
“Another piece of information that is worth sharing is the conviction of one Okechukwu Anoke by the Federal High Court Abakaliki and sentencing him to 3 years’ imprisonment for tampering with electricity fittings.
“We welcome this judicial support to stop corruption in the power sector, enforce the law and promote liquidity in the sector,” the minister noted.
Fashola who equally appreciated the Chief Judge of the Federation (CJF) for issuing practice directions aimed at full enforcement of Arbitration clauses in power contracts so as to take such cases as that of tariff setting out of the tedium of regular trial and place them in the hands of commercially sensitive adjudicators.
He was however quick to point out that the efficacy of the practice directions issued by the CJN for the strict enforcement of Arbitration clauses does not rest with the Judicial officers alone, but all stakeholders, urging the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to, “owing to their critical role”, join in the process. The Nigerian Bar Association has a pivotal role to play in ensuring that Arbitration clauses are enforced. This is because it is often the Lawyers, not the clients, that file and initiate processes that invoke the jurisdiction of the Court,” the minister stated.
He equally drew the attention of stakeholders to the N25.9 billion recently approved for MDAs’ debts by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to be paid by setting it off against the debts owed by the DisCos to NBET, saying official communication on how it has been applied to reduce the DisCos’ debts to NBET will be made public in due course.