By Chukwuma Okereke
On Wednesday, Match 11, 2020, senator Birma Enagi from Niger State, sponsored a bill which prescribes a 10-year imprisonment for importers and sellers of electric generators across the country.
The Bill states: “Any person who imports generators or knowingly sells generators shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than ten years.
The Bill, however, excluded importers and sellers of generators meant to empower essential services. The exemption includes generators meant to serve medical purposes in hospitals and nursing homes and healthcare facilities, airports, railway stations, elevators, escalators, research institutions and such facilities that require twenty-four hour electricity power supply are also exempted.”
Senator Enagi was alleged to have argued that the proposed legislation was meant to tackle environmental pollution and was also aimed at the development of the power sector.
Coming from the upper legislative chamber of National Assembly (NASS) the bill is not only embarrassing but also portrays the sponsor as a senator who does not know the problems associated with power in the country.
It is very pathetic that all efforts being put in place by the Federal Government in this direction have not produced the desired results. Not long ago, the spokesman of the minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, Aaron Artimas noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had injected billions of naira into the power sector. This was aimed at improving the electricity generation and distribution in the country. The impact of the huge investment is yet to be felt by Nigerians.
Most of our lawmakers do not seemingly appreciate the problems on the ground before coming out with some unpopular bills. It is even worse that the only possibility for Nigerians to alternate the epileptic power supply by the Federal Government which are the generators are being kicked at by a representative of the people in governance. This is an example of insensitivity to the plights of the people by some of our so-called legislators.
Many Nigerians have condemned the bill as ‘unrealistic and unreasonable’ believing that senator Enagi did not take the expense in generators and fuel and the allied problems most Nigerians have been subjected to in this regard like loss of lives into consideration, caused by failure of public light, before coming out with his bill. The bill should therefore be cast overboard. It is not supposed to see the light of the day.
Most Nigerians vehemently disagrees with senator Enagi and calls on the Federal Government to Improve on its campaign promises in this regard and save the citizenry the perennial problem of epileptic power. The Senate ought to concentrate on ways of getting the power sector on strong footing again as part of their campaign promises too instead of toeing the line of senator Enagi which will only create further hardship for Nigerians. Complacent legislators should desist from unpopular legislation that will further push Nigerians to more hardship.