A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, refused an application by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), seeking to stay further proceedings in the suit challenging the hike in electricity tariff by Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
The suit was instituted by a lawyer and rights activist, Toluwani Adebiyi, following which the court had restrained parties to maintain status-quo. It will be recalled that NERC and DISCOs had gone ahead on February 1, 2016 to hike tariff in electricity, despite the subsisting order.
NERC had asked the court to stay proceedings until its appeal against two previous rulings delivered by the judge was heard and determined by the Appeal Court. Justice Idris had in one of the rulings barred NERC from implementing any upward review in electricity tariff pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
The other ruling has to do with the dismissal of NERC’s preliminary objections to the suit. However, while dismissing the application for stay of proceedings for lacking in merit, yesterday, Justice Idris held that contrary to the claims of the applicant, there are no indication that the appeal has been listed for hearing at the Appeal Court.
He said, “It is clear that the applicant has an application before the court seeking for an extension of time to compile and transmit its record at the Appeal Court.
“There is also another motion for leave to rely on the same record of appeal in this present appeal. However, there is no indication that the application has been listed on the cause list or that it had been heard or adjourned for hearing.
“In the circumstance, this court cannot grant a stay of proceedings on an incompetent appeal which is awaiting regularisation at the Appeal Court. On the whole, the application lacks merit and is dismissed accordingly,” the judge said.
The court also awarded N10,000 cost in favour of the plaintiff.
After the ruling, there were arguments among parties in the matter on which application should be taken by the court.
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