ANYONE importing and distributing generators across Nigeria will be liable to a 10 year prison sentence under fresh proposals being put debated under a bill currently before the National Assembly.
Yesterday, Senator Birma Enagi from Niger State introduced a bill in the senate to restrict the importation of private generators across the country. His bill, if it becomes law, will criminalise the importation, sale and usage of generators in Nigeria.
According to Senator Enagi, the bill which scaled the first reading on the floor of the Senate, was introduced to curb the menace of environmental pollution and to facilitate the development of the power sector. Nigeria is currently bedevilled by an energy crisis, with most parts of the country currently experiencing erratic power supply and as a result, consumers have to resort to widespread use of generators.
Senator Enagi’s bill read: “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 10 years.” It, however, excluded importers and sellers of generators meant to power essential services.
This exemption includes generators meant to serve medical purposes in hospitals, nursing homes and healthcare facilities. Generators used to power airports, railway stations, elevators, escalators, research institutions and such facilities that require 24-hours electric power supply are also exempted.
However, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the sponsor of the bill did not capture the reality of the power situation in the country. , LCCI director-general Dr Muda Yusuf, said that the heavy dependence by Nigerians on generators for electricity was a direct consequence of the failure of the power sector.
Describing the proposition as unrealistic, Dr Yusuf, said power shortage was the biggest challenge facing Nigeria as a country, as it was taking a huge toll on businesses as well as on the welfare of the people. He added that what Nigerians expected from the lawmakers was a proposal on how to urgently fix the problem of power and not restrictions on generator imports.
Dr Yusuf said: “The proposition is not a realistic one and it does not show that its promoter is in touch with the reality of the power situation. Is it the fault of Nigerians that they have to rely on generators for power supply?”