On March 17, 2023, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria signed nineteen (19) bills into law. Significant among the newly enacted legislation are the Fifth Alteration Acts 2023, which made sixteen (16) new amendments to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (the Constitution). One of the landmark amendments to the Constitution is the Fifth Amendment Bill No.33, Devolution of Powers (the Amendment) which now expands the scope of State legislative powers to include generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in areas covered by the national grid system. Prior to the Amendment, the legal regime only permitted States to make laws for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in areas “not covered by the ‘national grid system” within the State.
The Amendment has stirred up mixed reactions amongst players in the electric power sector and raised a couple of legal questions. In this newsletter, we consider the legal implications of creating a state-controlled electricity market in Nigeria and the consequent opportunities and challenges this presents