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SERAP sues President Buhari, NASS over the increase in electricity tariff, fuel price

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 302 involved Nigerians have filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly.

They’re asking the court to “declare illegal, unconstitutional and unfair the current hike in electricity tariff and fuel price as a result of prime degree public officers cannot continue to receive the same salaries and allowances and spend public money to finance a life of luxury for themselves whereas asking poor Nigerians to make sacrifices.”

Joined within the suit as Defendants are the Vice-President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

President Buhari had whereas presenting the 2021 budget proposal of N13.08 trillion to the National Meeting reportedly said that: “The brand new petro pricing has freed up resources that had been used for subsidy payments, whereas the brand new cost-reflective pricing within the electricity industry is supposed to deal with the liquidity challenges within the sector.”

However within the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/330/2020 filed last week on the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is searching for: “an order directing and compelling the RMAFC to chop the salaries, allowances and other emoluments payable to President Buhari, Professor Osinbajo, Dr Lawan and Mr Gbajabiamila, according to the present economic realities, and rules of justice, fairness, equality and non-discrimination.”

SERAP is arguing that: “The Constitution of Nigeria 1999 [as amended] makes it clear that the authorities ought to harness Nigeria’s resources to promote and make sure the most welfare, prosperity, freedom and happiness of each citizen on the basis of social justice and equality. The nation’s resources should be harnessed and distributed to serve the common good, and to not finance a life of luxury for politicians.”

Read more: SERAP TO BUHARI: Respect rule of law, enforce court judgments

In line with SERAP: “hike electricity tariff and fuel price in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is antithetical to the public curiosity, the widespread good, and a fundamental breach of constitutional oath of office.”

SERAP can be searching for: “an order of injunction restraining the RMAFC from paying the same quantity of salaries and allowances to President Buhari, Professor Osinbajo, Dr Lawan and Mr Gbajabiamila till the RMAFC comprehensively evaluations downward the salaries and allowances and different emoluments of those prime public officers and other high-ranking public officers, according to Nigeria’s present financial realities, and consistent with the rules of law.”

Dr Lawan is sued for himself and on behalf of all 109 members of the Senate, whereas Mr Gbajabiamila is sued for himself and on behalf of all 360 members of the Home of Representatives.

In line with SERAP: “A public officer shall not put himself/herself able the place his/her personal interest conflicts with his/her duties and responsibilities. Personal interest on this case is when top public officers like the Defendants proceed to obtain the same salaries and allowances whereas asking poor Nigerians to sacrifice and bear the burden of electricity tariff and fuel price hike.”

SERAP can be asking the court to find out “whether or not RMAFC can lawfully proceed to take care of the same level of salaries and allowances for President Buhari, Professor Osinbajo, Dr Lawan and Mr Gbajabiamila, in mild of Nigeria’s present financial realities, and constitutional provisions, and regardless of their obvious roles within the improve of electrical energy tariff and fuel price.”

SERAP stated: “Public cash is spent as security votes without transparency, and to pay for lavish lifestyles for top public officers together with lawmakers, who proceed to purchase costly new automobiles on the expense of taxpayers, the poor and socially and economically weak Nigerians. The National Assembly can be set to spend N27 billion to renovate the National Assembly Complicated, as proposed within the finances.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “Public responsibility means displaying management by instance and dedication to the beliefs of public service, together with by lowering salaries and allowances of high-ranking public officers just like the Defendants.

“The Nigerian Structure is based on the rule of regulation the first that means of which is that every thing should be performed in line with regulation. It additionally implies that authorities needs to be performed throughout the framework of acknowledged guidelines and rules, which prohibit discretionary power.

“The court, being the last hope of the common man, should come to the help of the poor and socially and economically weak Nigerians by granting the reliefs sought by SERAP and 302 involved Nigerians. Except the reliefs sought are granted, the Defendants will proceed to breach the structure on the expense of Nigerians dwelling in poverty.

“The poor and socially and economically weak Nigerians can be negatively affected by the hike in electricity tariff and fuel price. The rise is opposite to the oath of office by the President Buhari to faithfully make sure the well-being and prosperity of the people. Increasing electricity tariff and fuel value is neither in the public interest nor the well-being of Nigerians.

“On or about the 1st September 2020, the Federal Authorities introduced a complete elimination of subsidy from the worth of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise often known as petrol and thereby pushed the price per litre of petrol to N151. The Government had on 19th August 2020 introduced an increment of more than 100 percent within the electricity tariff per kilowatt to be paid by Nigerians who proceed to face unjust electricity charges.”

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