The Nigerian Electricity Management Service Agency (NEMSA) has warned electrical installation contractors without certification from the agency to get it or risk prosecution.
It said the penalty for not acquiring the certificate is a three-year imprisonment or a fine of N500,000.
The agency’s Chief Executive Officer, also the Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation, Peter Ewesor, gave the warning during the inauguration of the Abuja Zonal Electrical Installation Contractors Certification Panel in Abuja.
He said in addition to the imprisonment and fine, the holders of the certificates had sanctions, which ranged from suspension of licence, a repeat of the installation if it had not caused havoc, and permanent withdrawal of the certificate if the installation led to an accident that caused loss of life.
The panel has major stakeholders from the sector, including the Zonal/Area Inspecting Engineer (NEMSA) as chairman.
Others are from Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Electrical Engineer from Federal Ministry of Works, A representative of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Licensed Electrical Contractors Association of Nigeria (LECAN), a representative of DisCos, Electrical Engineer in the Zonal Office as secretary, and a representative of Certification Unit (HQ).
According to Ewesor, the agency under the Certification of Electrical Contractors in Nigeria on July 26 certified 6,500 contractors while there has been a high rush to the agency for re-certification.
He said: “The reason we are doing this is that we have noticed that with the certification kicked off, the rush for recertification has been very high, and we have to start this inauguration for people who feel they have to be certified to be certified so that some people cannot be disenfranchised from the exercise.”
The CEO noted that the goal of NEMSA is to weed out quacks to ensure the delivery of uninterrupted power supply to Nigerians, ensuring safety of lives and property.
“Many lapses have been identified in the power sector and other places where electricity is used in the area of electrical installation, which have resulted to the unstable network and fire incidences over the years. These lapses include design and construction failure, improper planning and execution of electrical projects, use of substandard materials and equipment, deliberate oversight of procedures, code and requirements for executing electricity projects as specified by regulations and standard code of practice, lack of adherence to standard construction and installation and inadequate safety provisions during constrain and subsequent utilisation of the network,” he said.
He said there are 16 zonal panels across the country, with the inauguration taking off from Abuja because of its proximity to the head office.
On the composition of the panel of experts from different specialised organisations related to electricity, he noted that that Ministry of Labour was represented in the panel in order to address the issue of safety.
The CEO said the agency was not certifying contractors for the fun of it, but for owing to the fact that they should be able to interpret the regulations, code of practice and also know the consequences of absence of earthing in a house.