Mr Princewill Okorie, National Coordinator, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Electricity Consumers Protection Advocacy Group, has called on the National Assembly (NASS) to include electricity consumers’ right in bill.
He made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) version of the FCT Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Electricity Consumers Protection Advocacy programme.
Okorie, who is also the National President, Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA), appealed to NASS to include electricity consumer’s right in the new Electricity Bill it is about to pass.
“I call on the National Assembly that is about to approve a new Electricity Bill, 2022, to look into the matter seriously because it bothers on economic and safety of Nigerians.
“It will be contradictory for us to prosecute, try and punish those who individually steal from other citizens and use bureaucracy or law to protect corporate organisations,” he said.
According to him, the overall objective of the national MSME electricity consumer protection advocacy programme is to intervene through advocacy and capacity building programmes for business membership organisations.
“It is with a view to exposing them to the provisions of consumer protection component of Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005,” he said.
Okorie said that in order to address the issue of electricity consumers’ right, the theme of the event “Developing Grassroots Based Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) through Electricity Consumer Protection Education” was selected.
He said in order to resolve the issues properly, relevant stakeholders made presentations on various topics.
He said that in addition, a book titled: “Basic challenges of Safety and Quality Standards in Electricity sector’’ was published.
On his part, Mr Oluwale Fasanya, Director-General of Small, Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), said that the theme of the programme was apt as it involved MSME at the grassroots.
Fasanya, represented by Mrs Mary Kolawole, Manager, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) SMEDAN, said that the programme was an opportunity for electricity consumers to be aware of their rights and obligations.
In her Keynote Address, Mrs Janet Odo, Assistant Director, Consumer Education, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), said that the commission recognised the valuable role played by the MSME in nation’s economy.
Odo said that the MSMEs were number one driver of the economy by providing jobs to many and had also been the source of livelihood to many households.
She said that the commission also recognised the challenges of power supply faced by FCT residents, especially its impact on micro, small and medium enterprises.
“Not only is the supply inadequate, but also many are groaning under the burden of excessive billing or tariff.
“Being aware that every penny inputted into the business affects overall turnover, the commission is working hard to ensure that the consumer gets value for every electricity product paid for.
“But the question remains “how can one accurately measure consumption to know whether it is under payment or over payment of ?
’’ “This is where consumer education comes in,” he added.
The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) on Thursday said that community engagement was important to improving reach and ending TB by 2030 in Nigeria.
The National Coordinator, NTBLCP, Dr Chukwuma Anyaike, said this during the flag-off of community outreach at Gishiri community as part of activities to mark the 2022 National Tuberculosis Testing in Abuja.
“We are here to tell the community that TB is a very big problem and is killing several people; it is not a respecter of persons or status.
Because it is in the air, it makes it more dangerous.
“Every year on March 24, NTBLCP has this type of gathering, but it has decided not to wait till another March 24 to bring this intervention to the people.
“I want to encourage the community to ensure that anyone that we find out has TB should take their drugs as prescribed.
“The community must work hand-in-hand to ensure the person takes their drug so that they don’t infect others.
“Also, anybody that has received treatment should not be discriminated against.
Once a person is cured, he or she cannot pass it to others,” he said.
Also, Dr Enang Oyama, National Professional Officer Tuberculosis Nigeria, WHO, said that TB was a disease of public health importance.
“We have come to help the community to see that they can prevent and take care of persons that might have TB.
TB is affecting everyone, and no one is spared,” Oyama said.
He said that the disease affects the community socially and economically.
“We are here to create awareness about TB.
We are also educating them on how to access care and treatment,” he said.
Speaking at the event, the Head of Gishiri Community, Mr Bala Akusu, said: “We are happy with this programme by the Buhari-led administration.
“In the community, every tribe is well-represented – from Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Gbagi and other tribes.
’’ Akusu said that this intervention would reduce the burden of TB in the community.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the WHO stated that TB is the 13th leading cause of death in the world and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19 and .
In 2020 about six in every 10 persons infected with TB were male, with an estimated 10 million people (5.6 million men, 3.3 million women, and 1.1 million children) testing positive.
A total of 1.5 million people died due to TB in the year.
TB is an infectious disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria and affects the lungs of those it infects, but is curable and preventable.
The disease is airborne and it spreads through cough, sneezing, or saliva.
The disease affects all age groups.
However, fear of the social stigma associated with a TB diagnosis makes some Nigerians delay getting tested for the disease.
Leaders of some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have lauded the Federal Government for appointing Dr Salisu Dahiru as pioneer Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change.
The CSOs, in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday, also expressed their delight that the Federal Government considered their calls for the implementation of the Climate Change Act. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in recent weeks the campaigners were persistent in their demands.
The CSOs leaders and participants at a virtual workshop in July, had expressed the need for the federal government to establish the National Council on Climate Change.
Their call was made in order to boost implementation of the Nigeria Climate Change Act, which was signed into law in November 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Amid calls by youth groups for the commencement of the law’s implementation, the workshop was followed by the submission of a petition signed by 64 groups to relevant government agencies.
The campaigners, who urged government to immediately implement the climate law, also expressed their dismay over the delay by the government in implementing the core provisions of the Act. However, government took a major decision to signpost the beginning of the implementation of the Climate Change Act with the appointment of Dr. Salisu Dahiru as pioneer Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council on Climate Change.
Consequently, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, the President of the Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), said he was delighted that the government has listened to the message sent by leaders of Nigerian CSOs and NGOs to urgently implement the Climate Change Act. Okereke is also the Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Abakaliki, Ebonyi.
Okereke led the Technical Committee set up by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to review the bill.
Also Nnaemeka Oruh, National Coordinator, Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), Nigeria, lauded what he called coordinated campaign by stakeholders on the matter.
“I would say that the coordinated campaigns by civil society, the media, youth advocates, the international community especially the British High Commission, and of course by the National Assembly especially Rep. Sam Onuigbo, played a critical role in this.
“This is a win for Nigeria and an important step” he said.
Dr Mina Ogbanga of the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI Nigeria), described the development as `a strong step in the right direction’.
Ogbanga acknowledged the step as one that would cascade our climate change ambitions unto actualisation.
She said that “the strategic advocacy of civil societies contributed in no small way to the government taking this step.
“As an organisation, we have continuously called for the implementation of the Climate Change Act as part of Nigeria’s contribution to safeguarding its citizens against the harsh realities of climate change impact.
“It is our hope that the composition of the National Council will meet all best practice standards to accomplish this very strategic step,” she said.
Abdulhamid Hamid, the Chief Executive Officer, Global Environmental and Climate Conservation Initiative (GECCI), said that the call for the government to implement the Climate Change Act “was very effective”.
He said: “We now know that the government is taking it seriously.
Therefore, with this good development on the appointed DG of the Council, we are still expecting for its urgent implementation.
“The Climate Change Act also includes provisions for members of the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, women, youth, and people with disabilities.
“It empowers the Council with significant powers to coordinate national climate actions, administer the newly established Climate Change Fund, mobilise resources to support climate actions, and collaborate with the Nigerian Sovereign Green Bond in meeting Nigeria’s NDC.
“The Climate Change Fund is envisioned as a financing mechanism for prioritised climate actions and interventions.
“The promotion and adoption of nature-based solutions to reduce GHG emissions and mitigate climate change is encouraged.
“The terms of the agency’s being given funds to start implementing work, and all those involved in the act should be called to be included in the implementation work that will begin as the law provides.
” Similarly, David Terungwa, Founder and Executive Director of the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP), said that the delay in the implementation of the Act was uncalled for.
He said: “While we commend the appointment of the Director General, it is important to state that the long delay in the implementation of the Climate Change Act was not necessary.
“Considering its importance it took a push and campaigns by civil society organisations and other stakeholders before the appointment of the Director General.
“Now that we officially have less than seven years to act to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5°C), as agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement, urgent action is required more than ever before to deal with the increasing risks of climate change across the globe.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Climate Change Bill into law in November 2021. The Act reaffirms the federal government’s aim to cut current emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 and achieve net zero emissions as early as possible in the second half of the century (net zero target for 2050 to 2070).