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Electricity tariff hike: Reps to intervene — Kalu

Hon. Benjamin Kalu, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, on Monday, assured Nigerians of the 10th Assembly’s resolve to debate the propriety or otherwise of the recent hike in electricity tariffs upon the resumption of plenary later this month.

 

Speaking virtually on the special edition of ‘Ben Kalu’s Mandate’, a call-in radio programme of FLO FM, Umuahia, Abia State, the deputy speaker posited that the parliament, heeding the calls of Nigerians for its intervention in the matter, will adopt a win-win approach in resolving the issues thereto.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Levinus Nwabughiogu, stated that Kalu’s reaction followed an inquiry from a call-in listener, Okafor Chinedum from Umuahia, who sought to know the position of the parliament on the matter.

The Deputy Speaker said, “It’s a general problem. While I was on my holidays, one of the things I was bothered with was a letter sent to me by the majority leader of the House on the need for us to intervene in a matter involving the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital power supply. They were disconnected because of this hike, and they didn’t have the money to pay. We said it’s an essential service. Something should be done about it while we look at other details.

“I can assure you that when we resume, it’s one of the things we are going to look into. We will look at both sides of the coin to determine a win-win approach to it because we cannot suffocate the investors, and we also cannot allow Nigerians to suffer unduly. So, it is one of the things we will look at by the time we resume, and we will find a way to solve it.”

Also responding to the second leg of the question by the same caller about the possibility of giving Nigerians a brand-new constitution, leveraging the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Hon. Kalu said that it behoves the people to lead the debate and provide a practicable template for the national assembly to consider the merits and demerits.

“Yes, some schools of thought have expressed the view that they want a new constitution, drop the old one, and pick up something new. Some elders, known as the Patriots, are also asking for a brand-new constitution. But as you know, we are the people’s parliament. You are our bosses.

“Whatever the people decide for us to do when we have our public hearings and all these engagements when we move around because we are going to go to every zone, most local government areas, or senatorial or geopolitical zones to engage, is what we will look at.

“If the people have a general consensus that this is what Nigerians want and the template of what they are asking for, what is wrong with this one that you want to change? How would the new one look, and what do you have in mind? We will be able to factor that in.

“I am happy that you are conscious of the move for the amendment of the constitution. I like it when people call to discuss that. It shows there is awareness, which is very key. It’s only when you are aware that you can engage and make the right impact. So, I appreciate you. This is the time to lend your voice to this,” he said.

Hon. Kalu also subscribed to the views of another caller, Davison Ukpabi, a retired military personnel from Umuda Isingwu, that the review of the military pension system was long overdue to enable the ex-servicemen and, indeed, similar retirees to meet the demands of the present economic realities.

It will be recalled that a spontaneous outcry greeted the electricity tariff hike upon its announcement by the electricity authorities, stimulating fears that it would escalate the economic hardship in the country.

 

 

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