Lawyer-cum rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), on Wednesday urged state governments to generate and distribute their own electricity to improve the well -being of people in their states.
He said the states have constitutional responsibility to generate, distribute and transmit electricity.
Falana stated these following revelations that the administrations of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua and Goodluck Jonathan allegedly squandered over N11 trillion on electricity while the nation remains in darkness.
He spoke during the launching of a report by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), titled: “From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are paying the price for corruption in the electricity sector,” held at Weston Hotels, Ikeja.
The report was supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
Falana, who chaired the event, told state governments to challenge the laws restricting them from generating electricity in their states.
He described the Power Reforms Act of 2005 which concentrate power and electricity generation on the Federal Government and private companies contrary to the provisions of the constitution as “largely illegal.”
He said: “That’s why we are challenging state governments, stop going to Abuja, stop begging federal government to give you power to establish electricity companies in your state.
“You have the right. If individuals can do that and generate electricity they needed, why should you go to Abuja to get a licence to generate electricity in your state?”
Falana said it is high time for state governments to begin to exercise their constitutional rights by challenging the control of electricity generation, distribution and transmission by the federal government.
He added: “Items 13 and 14 of the schedule to the constitution stipulate that state governments shall have power to generate electricity outside the national grid.
“It goes further to say that the House of Assembly of each state shall make a law for the establishment of electricity boards in all states. But they are not there to provide electricity for the people outside the national grid.
“I generate electricity in my home, in my office. So why can the 20 million people?
“So, we must really challenge the control of our affairs by the government in Abuja.”
He said the failure of the power sector has affected all spheres of national life.