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Ex-minister Nnaji raises alarm over electrocution cases

A former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji
Thursday raised alarm of the growing incidents of
electrocution in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry

Speaking during a stakeholders’ forum organised
by the Nigerian Electricity Management Services
Agency (NEMSA) in Abuja, he tasked the agency on
technical enforcement, which he said the Nigerian
Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) lacked
the capacity to address prior to the establishment
of the latter.

He advised the agency that the only way it can
address the danger of electrocution is to ensure
proper installation.

Nnaji said: “And installation -the wiring. The way
you install wires in the country needs to be assured
that they are safe. So this must be a responsibility
and unfortunately for us we have a lot of accidents
recently people die of electrocution in various
parts of the country.

“And the only way you can ensure that this is not
going on is to ensure that installations are done
properly, and that people are not exposed to
danger. And there must be an agency that does
this. So that is what NEMSA is supposed to do.”

The former minister recalled that the failure of the
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)
to do technical enforcement led to the creation of a
new enforcement agency last year.
He was among the experts that initiated the Electric
Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005 that created
NERC, NEMSA and other agencies in the power

He said: “What we wanted to do (in the reform) was
to say the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of
power should be a department for regulating
technical services. We wanted NERC to take it but
perhaps the managers of NERC didn’t understand
that aspect, because we have business regulation
and then the technical aspect.

“Somebody has to maintain the technical aspect,
and so it did not happen. So the inspectorate
division became the engine that created NEMSA.
People wondered what was going on then and it
became a fury during the process of creating
NEMSA,” Nnnaji explained.

Recall that NERC had opposed the transfer of the
former Electricity Management Services Limited
(EMSL) to the present NEMSA alarming a case of
double regulation. NERC is presently enmeshed in
reports about its huge salary and lump-sum
N2billion severance package for its seven outgoing
ministers next month. It was summoned by the
National Assembly along with concerned agencies
to explain the remuneration structure, Thursday.

Nnaji who urged for tougher sanctions, charged
NEMSA to enforce all statutory standards and
regulations as published by NERC saying,

“Unfortunately we have had some accidents
recently with people dying of electrocution. So
there has to be an agency that enforces safety

He also advised the prospective commissioners of
NERC from JAnaury 2015 to sit with the leadership
of NEMSA and define the roles of market
regulation by the Commission and that of technical
enforcement by NEMSA.

The Managing Director of NEMSA, Engr. Peter
Ewesor at the forum said the task before the
agency in enforcing technical standards and
electricity safety is quite enormous requiring the
collaboration of stakeholders in the industry
towards realizing the objectives.

Meanwhile the Minister of Power Works and
Housing, Babatunde Fashola has said government
will no longer condone the frequent incidences of
electrocution, system collapse arising from the use
of substandard materials and equipment in the
power industry.

In a keynote speech obtained at the forum, he said:
“This administration is mindful of the sanctity of
lives of Nigerians and other electricity consumers
and would therefore not condone frequent
incidences of electrocution and other forms of
accidents in the industry due to use of substandard
materials and equipment and poor state of
electricity supply networks as well as frequent
system collapses.”

While inaugurating the forum, Fashola appealed to
the owners of privatised Generation companies
(Gencos) and the Distribution companies (Discos)
to redouble their efforts at providing efficient
electricity to their customers.

The Minister of State, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri
on his part said “The present government will
continue to hold you responsible if you fail to act
according to NEMSA Act 2015. You must live to
your statutory functions and your commercial
opportunities to earn more revenue to sustain your

The Permanent Secretary, Power, Louis Edozien
said there are limited infrastructure to provide
electricity and that they are marred by the use of
substandard materials. He noted that NEMSA is
statutorily mandated to correct this and that it has
his full support.

NEMSA in its bid to enlighten the public in helping
to reduce electrical accidents launched its ‘Safety
Instruction Guide’ publication. Prof. Nnaji who
presented the guide tasked the Discos to distribute
it to their customers while creating awareness on
where victims of electrical accidents can access
NEMSA clinics for immediate treatments.

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