Lawyers’ expertise indispensable in shaping electricity-related matters-NBA

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By Ebere Agozie

Mr Afam Okeke, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja Branch says lawyers play an indispensable role in ensuring sustainability and efficiency by contributing their legal expertise in the shaping of electricity related matters.

Okeke, made this known at a one-day Capacity Building Workshop for Lawyers by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Abuja, Abuja.

According to Okeke, the initiative reflects NERC’s commitment to fostering a more equipped, progressive and skilled legal community capable of navigating the complexities inherent in the regulation electricity sector.

He said the legal profession is not static and requires continuous learning and adaptation to new challenges, adding that the training would equip the lawyers with insights and knowledge needed to break new grounds.

“Lawyers need to be informed on the key reforms and advance the rights and interests of relevant stakeholders with the electricity sector.

“As lawyers, we hold a unique responsibility to ensure that legal framework are comprehensive, transparent and conducive to the growth and stability of key sectors such as electricity.

“Our branch remains steadfast in driving initiatives that promote legal excellence and enrich the knowledge of our members,” Okeke said.

Mr Ahmadu Zubairu, General Manager, Legal, Licensing and Compliance, NBA (Abuja Branch) in his remarks said capacity building was crucial to energising professions in all sectors to step up their competences.

“There was an amendment of the constitution a year ago, subsequently the electricity act was passed. With the passage of the electricity act, a lot of things are supposed to change.

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“So, lawyers are expected to upscale their skills to come to terms with the reality.

“The laws that were passed are also to be in tune with the society’s needs so it is very important that we upscale our competences and skills in order to face the realities of the changing dynamics in the society.

“I am confident that the decision to organise this workshop is not only necessary but timely,” Zubairu.

Speaking on ‘The Nigeria’s Electricity Sector Reform, Mr Dafe Akpeneye, Commissioner, Legal, Licencing and Compliance, NER, said Nigeria should make reforms and creat appropriate legal frameworks for electricity like in the banking and telecom sectors.

Akpeneye said electricity generation is capital intensive and investors want to invest with the assurance of making profits.

He said that it is a multi tire value chain that requires everyone on the value chain to do what they need to do, adding that creation of a strong independent regulator was key.

He appealed to lawyers to desist from dragging the electricity agencies to court to stop payment of tariffs because it affects the supply and distribution of power which impacts on everyone in the society.

“Limitation of the use of ex parte injunctions and accelerated hearings in suits that impact significant economic reforms and critical national infrastructure.

“Introduction of the principle of cost following the event in civil litigation affecting the reforms similar to the indemnity costs regime under English law,” Akpeneye said.

Akpeneye quoting Edward Deming said ‘a bad system will beat a good person every time’. (NAN)(
Edited by Sadiya Hamza

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