Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has described the 45 per increase on electricity tariff as bitter pills that consumers have to swallow.

He said this following a nationwide protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress. Led by the National President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba.

Nigeria workers trooped to the road in Abuja on Monday to kick against the hike, which they described as plan to protect a few but to suffer the masses of the country.

Under the new tariff, which took effect from February 1, 2016, electricity consumers in R2 class, said to be under residential, will payN24.30 per kilowatt in Abuja; Benin-N24.08; Enugu-N27.13; Ibadan -N23.09; Jos- N26.93; Kaduna – N27.36 and N28.05 (in single phase and three phases); Kano – N20.26 and N26.41; Ikeja – N21.30 and N21.80; Port Harcourt –N24.91; Eko- N24.00 and 25.79; Yola –N23.25 and N24.75 per kilowatt. Meanwhile, residential customers  under R2 class within Abuja.

Speaking, Wabba said that apart from the fact that most consumers were not metered in accordance with the signed privatization Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of November 1st, 2013, which stipulated that within 18 months gestations period, all consumer are to be metered; the due process in the extant law for such increment was also not followed in consonance with Section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.

He said, “The new tariff is only intended to protect the interest of a selected few and not serve the interest of other Nigerians.  In view of the above, we demand a reversal of the tariff increase and for prepaid meters be made available free to all consumers. We must make the Minister of Power, Works and Housing who has been advancing spurious argument in justification of unwarranted increment know that Nigeria is our collective heritage and Nigeria cannot be taken for a ride. We must prosecute this action until we achieve our desired goals.”

Wabba`s speech was intermittently applauded by the workers, who said the will of the workers must prevail against that of the proponents of the tariff hike.