Advise Buhari To Obey Court Order On Electricity Contracts, SERAP Tells Malami

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abukabar Malami, to advise President Muhammadu Buhari to enforce the judgment by Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor, ordering the immediate release of details of payments to all defaulting and corrupt electricity contractors and companies since 1999.

Deputy Director of the agency, Kolawole Oluwadare, in a letter said that the enforcement of the judgment will go a long way in protecting the integrity of the legal system.

He further stated that enforcing the judgement would prove the government’s commitment to the rule of law, and contribute to addressing the culture and legacy of corruption in the power sector.

See full statement below.

Advise Buhari to obey judgment on release of payment details on electricity contracts, SERAP tells Malami

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Mr Abukabar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to use his “special role as the Chief Law Officer of Nigeria to advise and persuade President Muhammadu Buhari to fully and effectively enforce the judgment by Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor ordering the immediate release of details of payments to all defaulting and allegedly corrupt electricity contractors and companies since 1999.”

Justice Obiozor, a Professor of Law, sitting at the Federal High Court, Lagos, had in July delivered a judgment in a Freedom of Information suit number FHC/L/CS/105/19, brought by SERAP, ordering the Federal Government to disclose and publish the names of companies and the whereabouts of the contractors paid by successive governments to carry out electricity projects but disappeared with the money without executing any projects.”

In the open letter dated 13 September 2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The enforcement of this judgment will be a special moment for the government’s anti-corruption agenda and the sovereignty of rule of law, as it would go a long way in protecting the integrity of our legal system.

“We urge you to make best efforts to advise and persuade President Buhari and Mr Sale Mamman, Minister of Power to begin to take steps that will ensure the full enforcement of this ground-breaking judgment.”

SERAP said: “Advising and persuading Mr Buhari and Mr Mamman to enforce the judgment against corrupt contractors and companies would show your commitment to the rule of law, and contribute to addressing the culture and legacy of corruption in the power sector.

It will show that you are not just Mr Buhari’s lawyer but also a defender of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), the rule of law and public interest within the government, something which Justice Obiozor’s judgment seeks to serve.”

The letter read in part: “It is emphatically the province and constitutional duty of the Attorney General to advise on the enforcement of judicial decisions. It is important to do so here if power sector contractors and companies are not to continue to evade justice for their alleged corruption.”

“Taking action as recommended would be in keeping with Nigerians’ expectations, and entirely consistent with Buhari’s oft-expressed commitment to ‘kill’ corruption–whether by public officials or private contractors—and help to build citizens’ trust and confidence in the ability of this government to take head-on the systemic corruption in the power sector.”

“Our democracy needs courts so that public officials and private actors including contractors can be held accountable for any infraction of Nigerian anti-corruption laws and international commitments. Constitutionalism and the rule of law are not in conflict with democracy; rather, they are essential to it.”

“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in advising and persuading Mr Buhari and Mr Mamman to enforce and implement Justice Obiozor’s judgment. We would be happy to provide further information or to discuss any of these issues in more detail with you.”

“A certified true copy of the judgment is enclosed with this letter for your attention and urgent action.”

It would be called that SERAP had in February filed the FoI suit against the Federal Government and former Minister of Power Mr Babatunde Fashola. The former minister then responded, saying that: “the Ministry has searched for the requested information on details of alleged contractors and companies but we could not find it from our records.”

SERAP said: “During the 20 years of Nigeria’s democracy successive governments have failed to increase power generation and provide Nigerians with regular and uninterrupted electricity supply, with many electricity contracts shrouded in secrecy, and trillions of Naira going down the drain.”

“Ordinary Nigerians have continued to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector, as the country has remained in darkness despite huge investment in the power sector by successive governments.”

In summary, Justice Obiozor in his judgment granted the following reliefs:

A DECLARATION is hereby made that the failure and/or refusal of the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to provide SERAP with documents and information containing the specific names and details of contractors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector by successive governments since 1999, details, of specific projects and the amounts that have been paid to the contractors and companies, details on the level of implementation of electricity projects and their specific locations across the country, and failure to widely publish it on a dedicated website, any of such information, amounts to a breach of the obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2011

A DECLARATION is hereby made that the failure and/or refusal of the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to provide SERAP with specific documents and information containing the specific names and details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects from successive governments since 1999 but failed to execute any of such projects, and failure to widely publish it on a dedicated website, any of such information, amounts to a breach of the Respondent’s responsibility/obligation under the Freedom of Information Act 2011

AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS is made directing and compelling the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to urgently compile and make available to SERAP documents and information containing the specific names and details of contactors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999 to date, details of specific projects and the amounts that have been paid to the contracts and companies, details on the level of implementation of electricity projects and their specific locations across the country and to publish widely including on a dedicated website, any of such information

AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS is made directing and compelling the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to urgently compile and make available to SERAP documents and information containing the specific names and details of contactors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects from successive governments since 1999 but failed to execute any projects.

A DECLARATION is hereby made that the failure and/or refusal of the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to urgently disclose if there is an ongoing investigation or prosecution of allegedly corrupt contractors and companies in the electricity sector, amounts to a breach of the Respondent’s responsibility/obligation under the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS is made directing and compelling the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to urgently disclose if there is an ongoing investigation or prosecution of allegedly corrupt contractors and companies in the electricity sector.

Kolawole Oluwadare
SERAP Deputy Director
15/09/2019
Lagos, Nigeria

Power: Buhari Asks DisCos To Improve On Electricity Distribution

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked DisCos to improve on electricity distribution across the country, assuring the companies that the Federal Government will sustain efforts in building transmission infrastructure.

The President stated this when he received a delegation of Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and chiefs led by Oba Ewuare II at the State House.

He called on Nigerians to show more understanding with the DisCos and Federal Government as more expertise and resources would be committed to improving electricity.

The President said the supply of gas for transmission has improved over time and with the collective effort of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Discos the power situation would be made better.

“We are building infrastructure. We are doing our best, but, obviously, our best is not good enough yet,’’ he said.

President Buhari commended Oba Ewuare II and Edo Sate Traditional Council for intervention in human trafficking by tracking down and discouraging facilitators and rehabilitating victims that were returned.

“I am pleased that you have taken up the fight against human trafficking and I know the effect of your intervention will be felt beyond our borders,’’ he added.

On Benin-Abuja road project, the President assured the Edo State leaders that the Ministry of Works will give more attention to the project when ministers assume duty.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo To Represent Buhari At Rwandan Liberation Anniversary

President Buhari told the elders that the Federal Government was able to achieve food security with teamwork between the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Ministry of Agriculture, states and other stakeholders including farmers, promising that more will be done to diversify and strengthen the Nigerian economy.

In his remarks, Oba Ewuare II congratulated the President for winning the 2019 elections, urging him to utilise the opportunity to improve the livelihood of the people, particularly issues that directly impact on development like electricity and road infrastructure.

“We pray the almighty God to help you put in place a formidable team of men and women of proven integrity that will join you to take this nation to the next level. Considering that Edo State is the only APC state in the South-South, may we crave Mr President’s indulgence to have two slots,’’ he said.

The traditional ruler said the situation of electricity in Edo had worsened over the years, adding: “May I, on behalf of the people of Edo State, use this platform to further appeal to Mr President to intervene in this pathetic situation.’’

The traditional ruler, who listed the Benin-Abuja road as a project that will help Edo indigenes, said he placed a curse on all native doctors that facilitate human trafficking in the state, and the fear of reprisal had yielded positive results.

He also appreciated President Buhari for approving the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) to be held in Edo State, which, according to him, will showcase the rich culture of the people and drive his legacy museum project.

Senate Passes Power Sector Reform Act Amendment Bill

Senate Passes Power Sector Reform Act Amendment Bill

 

The Nigerian Senate has passed the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

This followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development, and Metallurgy, during plenary on Tuesday.

The report was presented by the committee chairman and lawmaker representing Abia-South senatorial district, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

READ ALSOEl-Rufai Gives Political Appointees Till April 30 To Resign

The billed was thereafter read and passed for the third time.

The lawmakers also considered reports on two other bills – Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Bill, 2019, and the National Board for Technical Education (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2019.

Committee Chairman on Science and Technology, Senator Barau Jibrin, and that of Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Barau Jibrin, presented the bills respectively.

Both bills were also read and passed for the third time.

Power Problem: Some States Have Almost 24 Hours Supply, Says Fashola

 

Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing has said that some cities in Nigeria can now boast of constant power supply.

He made the assertion on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.

“Sitting down here I can tell you some states that have almost 24 hours – Kebbi, Yobe. Some have five, some have 10 and there are still outages,” Fashola said.

He said the constant power supply in some states is due to the increase in the transmission capacity, noting that the transmission capacity has grown to about 8,100 watts as of December 2018.

He said the Ministry of Power has moved forward but needs to implement the short term goals it set.

READ ALSO: Presidential Election Results Were Accredited By Observers To Be In Conformity With The Law – Fashola

Fashola also spoke about programmes which the ministry have put in place to ensure adequate power supply across the nation.

“The government has decided that as 40 per cent holder of everything in the distribution of power, we have our programme to invest N72 billion which will involve installing transformers and all of that.

“We created a metre access provider regulation. What it does is to create a new plan of investment programme. We manufacture, produce, supply and install metres and fill the gap the distribution companies cannot raise capital to fill. They cannot do so alone, they must do so under a procurement policy with the distribution company,” he said.

The former Lagos State governor said the Federal Government will solve the problems of poor power supply in the country and will continue to keep the people informed as to the watts being consumed in the country.

Presidential Election Results Were Accredited By Observers To Be In Conformity With The Law – Fashola

 

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, says the presidential election results were accredited by both international and local observers, to be in conformity with the law.

He stated this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“The presidential election results were widely accredited by the observers to be in conformity with the law. The European Union, ECOWAS Commission, the African Union all said that they were satisfied with what they saw,” he stated.

According to Fashola, the election that saw President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerge the winner against Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is what he described as the voters’ choice.

Although the elections have come and gone, he believes that any aggrieved party should be free to challenge the result in court.

The Minister noted that APC’s victory at the polls is a clear demonstration that the people believe in the current administration.

READ ALSO: Elections: Tribunal Grants PDP, Atiku Access To Serve Buhari, APC Petition

“What the people have voted for is what we have continued to canvass, that we are better than the other side. Our results over the last three and the half years show that we have moved a little forward and they have entrusted us with the mandate to consolidate on what we have done.”

Speaking on electoral reforms, Fashola said he would like to see a situation whereby politicians would discipline themselves to accept the outcome of elections.

He also wants the coming 9th National Assembly to work hard to ensure that reforms are made in the area of finances spent during elections.

This is because he believes the amount spent for a presidential candidate of a political party is at least one billion naira.

When asked on his plans to address the nation’s problems associated with power, the Minister identified distribution level as the main challenge of power.

“We set out short term goals in my ministry. First, we have delivered on incremental power and we will continue to increase.

“We are hopeful to see that at this next level of obligation, what we want to see is more of incremental power and stable power in some places. I can tell you of some states that have stable power today.

“Kebbi, Yobe are examples. Some have five, some have eight (hours). And even all of these is still a little fragile and we need to consolidate. The issues at the distribution end of metering, outdated assets. Some of these assets, when I went to Aba for example, the substation was installed in 1960 and there was expansion after that,” he added.

China Offers To Help Venezuela Restore Power After Blackout

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro/ AFP

 

China on Wednesday offered to help Venezuela bring its collapsing power grid back online as President Nicolas Maduro sought to stave off rising public anger that is bolstering his US-backed rival Juan Guaido.

A vast blackout that struck Venezuela nearly a week ago — the worst in its history — has deepened the South American country’s already a grave economic crisis, especially by disrupting the supply of drinking water.

Although electricity has since been restored to most of the capital Caracas, water was having to be trucked in, and western swaths of the country remain without power.

READ ALSO: Lebanon Closes Airspace To Boeing 737 MAX

“No water, no power, no medicine, no cash, no transport. This has been dreadful,” one Caracas resident, Victoria Milano, 40, told AFP.

Guaido, an opposition leader whose claim to be Venezuela’s interim president is backed by the US and 50 other countries, told supporters on Tuesday he expected to have military chiefs on his side and take over the presidential palace “very soon.”

“This desperation and darkness is caused by the dictatorship,” Guaido said, alleging that around 20 people had died in hospital because of the power cut.

Venezuela’s pro-Maduro prosecutor’s office has hit back with a criminal investigation against Guaido for “sabotage,” alleging he had a hand in the blackout. But the opposition leader remains free after the US warned of “consequences” if he were arrested.

 Maduro sees ‘victory’

Maduro has accused Washington of waging “cybernetic” and “electromagnetic” attacks against Venezuela’s Guri hydroelectric plant, which provides power to 80 percent of the country’s 30 million inhabitants.

As he declared “victory” on television late Tuesday, claiming power had been restored “in almost all” the nation, Caracas residents in formerly middle-class neighborhoods banged pots in the street in protest.

Experts said an attack by a foreign state actor on Venezuela’s grid was possible, but unlikely.

“Knowing Venezuela, it was likely an internal failure,” Jeff Middleton, the chief technology officer at The Vault Foundation, a company that secures crypto currency transactions, told AFP.

Venezuela’s infrastructure has degraded over years because of lack of investment, a significant brain drain, and the government’s practice of putting the military in charge of key civilian facilities and companies. That has impacted not only the electricity grid but also the country’s vital oil industry.

The situation has worsened with successive rounds of US sanctions against Maduro’s regime, including steps that have severely curbed its oil exports.

 China, Spain offer help 

While much of Latin America and Europe have thrown their weight behind Guaido with a view to forcing presidential elections in Venezuela, Maduro has the support of Russia and China, major creditors and buyers of Venezuelan oil.

China on Wednesday said it stood ready to help Venezuela get its electricity up and running again.

“China hopes that Venezuela can quickly find the cause of this accident and restore normal power and social order,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular briefing in Beijing.

“China is willing to offer assistance and technical support to Venezuela to restore the power system,” Lu said.

The spokesman said China was “very concerned” about reports of a cyber attack, but declined to directly blame the United States.

Spain, one of the EU countries strongly backing Guaido, also offered help to fix Venezuela’s “badly deteriorated” electricity system.

According to Ecoanalitica, an economic analysis firm, the blackout had by Tuesday cost Venezuela $875 million.

“There is major paralysis in many critical areas in the oil sector,” it said, estimating that up to 70 percent of the one million barrels of oil a day Venezuela still managed to produce could end up being affected.

AFP

No Names Of Alleged Corrupt Contractors From Our Record, Fashola Tells SERAP

No Names Of Alleged Corrupt Contractors From Our Record, Fashola Tells SERAP
A file photo of Mr Babatunde Fashola

 

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola says his ministry could not get the names of corrupt contractors alleged to have looted funds in the power sector.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in a statement on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, said Fashola noted that the ministry does not have information on corrupt looters in its record.

“We have searched the ministry’s record and the information you applied for is not held by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Power Sector),” the minister was quoted as saying.

Fashola’s comments come barely a month after SERAP filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, asking him to publish the names of contractors who have failed to meet the terms of contracts they signed from 1999 to 2018.

READ ALSO: SERAP To Fashola: Publish Names Of Contractors Who Disappeared With Project Money

SERAP made the call following allegations by Mr Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Responding through the Director of Legal Services in the ministry, Mrs Shoetan Adesola, Mr Fashola acknowledged the request, stressing that the issue has been resolved under the FOI Act.

“The Ministry has searched for the requested information on details of alleged contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects and failed to execute any projects, but we could not find it from our records.

“I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 4th January 2019 in which you applied for the request to disclose details of alleged corrupt contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects. The request has been handled under the FOI Act,” she stated.

The organisation had in January sued the Minister for failing to disclose specific names and details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute them.

Ezekwesili Vows To Fix Power If Elected President

 

The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Mrs Oby Ezekwesili has vowed to fix the nation’s power if elected President.

Ezekwesili made the pledge in Abuja, the nation’s capital on Thursday when she took her presidential campaign to Nyanya market, a popular metropolitan hub in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“With an Oby Ezekwesili as the President of this country, the Electricity Power Act will be fully implemented. The next thing you will see is that power sector in Nigeria will reflect the kind of progress we have seen in the telecom sector,” she stated.

READ ALSO: Economy: Buhari Should Admit He Doesn’t Have Answers, Says Ezekwesili

According to her, previous governments failed to implement the 2005 Electricity Power Reform Act.

Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili speaks on her plans to revamp the nation’s power sector if elected President.

This, she said, was responsible for the failure of the power sector that has taken negative effects on business in the country.

She added, “The policies and legislation for the power sector were in 2003. In 2005, we had the same policies and legislation to enable the change of the power sector. The subsequent governments should have continued with the full implementation of those policies and legislation

“They didn’t but decided to reverse it back to where the government is the one and the only thing that wants to decide everything in the power sector. That is why it crippled the performance of that sector.”

SERAP To Fashola: Publish Names Of Contractors Who Disappeared With Project Money

It's 'Unarguable' We Have Improved Power 'With Less Resources', Says Fashola

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked Babatunde Fashola to provide names and details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects, starting from the return of democracy in 1999 to 2018.

SERAP in a Freedom of Information request to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing urged him to release a report regarding the contractors who have failed to meet the terms of contracts they signed within the period in focus.

According to SERAP, the call comes amid allegations and claims by former Nigeria’s Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

The group said the Presidential Candidate of the PDP recently stirred dust over some “contractors who were given some contracts for power projects and were paid hundred percent upfront, but did not get the projects executed.

SERAP said: “The revelation by Alhaji Atiku is entirely consistent with SERAP’s recent report titled: From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector, which also revealed how over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply was allegedly squandered by politicians and contractors under successive governments.”

READ ALSO: President Buhari Is Not My Cousin, He Is Not My Uncle – Amina Zakari

In the FOI request dated 4 January, 2019 and signed by SERAP senior legal adviser Bamisope Adeyanju, the organization said: “By publishing the names of the contractors and their registration details, if any, Nigerians will be better able to hold them to account for allegedly absconding with public funds meant for electricity projects, thereby throwing the country into perpetual darkness and socio-economic stagnation as well as denying people their human rights.”

The organization also said: “publishing the names will make it hard for contractors and companies to get away with complicity in grand corruption. If the requested information is not provided within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.”

The FOI request read in part: “It is important to show that your office and indeed this administration would not shield or allow ingrained wrongdoing by contractors and companies in the power sector to go unpunished. Unless the names of the contractors and companies are disclosed and widely published, alleged corrupt contractors and companies executing electricity projects will not be deterred and the victims of corruption that they committed will continue to be denied justice and effective remedies.”

“SERAP urges you to publish the names of all contractors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector since the return of democracy in 1999 to date, details of specific projects and the amounts that have been paid to the contractors and companies, details on the level of implementation of electricity projects and their specific locations across the country.”

“SERAP is concerned that to date no contractors or companies who allegedly collected money for electricity projects not executed or poorly executed have been investigated for corruption let alone prosecuted and fined. Senior public officials who apparently served as intermediaries for these contractors and companies continue to escape justice.”

“We are concerned that allegations of corruption involving many contractors and companies in the power sector have continued to impair, obstruct and undermine the ability of successive governments to provide Nigerians with access to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply.”

“Contractors and companies that allegedly disappeared with public funds meant for electricity projects may also be liable for aiding and abetting the commission of acts of grand corruption.”

“SERAP also urges you to refer contractors and companies that allegedly collected hundred percent payment upfront to appropriate anticorruption agencies for further investigation, and where there is relevant admissible evidence, for them to face prosecution.”

“Doing this will show your willingness to end a pattern of corruption in the power sector and to improve access of Nigerians to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply. It will also allow citizens to track the level of execution of electricity projects by contractors and companies and reduce impunity for corrupt acts in the sector.”

“Failure to publish the names of alleged corrupt contractors and companies in the power sector will undermine the government’s oft-expressed commitment to holistically fight grand corruption and improve access of Nigerians to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply.”

“Similarly, failure to take punitive and dissuasive measures would allow corrupt contractors and companies to continue to undermine the rule of law and socio-economic development of the country, restricting access of disadvantaged and marginalized communities to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply.”

“SERAP notes that the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party contains requirements of integrity and honesty in economic, financial or commercial activities-in the public and private sectors. It also imposes obligations on the government to ensure that sanctions imposed for corruption on natural and legal persons are effective, proportionate and dissuasive.”

“We urge you to establish online national database for all contractors and companies, shareholders and others that might have any ownership interests in companies responsible for executing power projects in the country. We also urge you to disclose if there any on-going investigation or prosecution of allegedly corrupt contractors and companies in the electricity sector.”

“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on alleged corrupt contractors and companies that have collected money for electricity projects and disappeared with public funds rather than executing the projects.”

“By Section 4 (a) of the FOI Act when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”

“The information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act. The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, bothers on an issue of national interest, public concern, interest of human rights, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.”

 

It’s ‘Unarguable,’ We Have Improved Power Supply ‘With Less Resources’, Says Fashola

 

The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says the Muhammadu Buhari administration has improved power supply in the last three years.

He told Channels Television on Sunday that although the government has yet to completely fulfil the promise made in 2015, even those criticising the present administration would not argue the improvement in the power sector.

“We set very high aspirations and we will get there, and what I am saying today is that we have improved on what we met, and that is unarguable and unimpeachable,” Fashola said during his appearance on Sunday Politics.

He added, “And we have done so in shorter time and with less resources. Let their (the critics) sympathisers continue to weaponise the challenges they created but the truth is that we are the ones solving the problems that we met.

“That’s why we sought the office because we think we are better than them and we have proven that we are.”

 

It's 'Unarguable' We Have Improved Power 'With Less Resources', Says Fashola
Mr Babatunde Fashola speaks during an interview on Sunday Politics on December 23, 2018.

The minister explained that there was a need to invest in power, whether on the part of the government or the private sector or from both sides if the sector must develop.

According to him, it is important for the people to compare where they are to where they are coming from, and the promises made by the present administration.



Fashola revealed that upon his assumption of duty in 2015, he set out a clear agenda for the ministry that it would first seek to achieve incremental power, saying it was already yielding results.

“We are producing more power than what we met; we are transmitting more power than what we met, and we are distributing more power than what we met,” he said.

He added, “I met 4,000MW; we have added three (thousand) more – 1,000MW per year. Our raw rate is a thousand megawatts (MW) every year.

 

 

“Since I came, we have completed projects they didn’t complete, we have evacuated 800 containers they left at the port; that’s mediocre administration… they didn’t administer a government.”

The minister, however, admitted that the numbers were not as important as the experience of Nigerians who were the consumers.

He noted that the government has not gotten to its destination yet, but the people can attest that power supply has improved in the last three years.

“Nigerians will tell you, on the average, that they are spending less money on buying diesel, they are spending less money on buying petrol for their generators.”

 

 

While the people still spend money on fuel in the case of a power outage, Fashola insisted that the case was not the same compared to the previous administration.

He stressed states like Kebbi were getting about 24 hours of power supply because there was a local arrangement in place to ensure people pay for the electricity consumed.

The minister added that he got a report from some residents of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital recently that the government should reduce the “24-hour” power supply in their area because they cannot afford to pay for it.

On power supply off the national grid, he said, ”We have been innovative, we are targeting market, we are targeting universities, we are promoting individuals and businesses to get their own energy under the existing regulations that we have championed.”

“So, we have a mini-grid policy … and I see a very clear path to solving this problem. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t remain.”

Fashola Inspects Kaduna Power Plant, Lauds Work Progress

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola.

 

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has lauded the progress of work ongoing at the 215-megawatt Kaduna power plant.

During an inspection to the site in Kaduna, the state capital on Monday, the minister stated that there have been some improvements when compared to his previous visit last year.

He said, “If you look back at where we were a year and a half ago when I came here, there has been progress. Some things that were not started have started, some things that were not finished have finished. And it just needs to have everything put together.

“It was essentially the way these things were procured. Some have moved faster than others and there are lessons to be learnt. I am pleased that there is progress.”

The minister expressed optimism that the project would be completed in no distant time in order to improve electricity supply in Kaduna and neighbouring states within the north-west zone.

He, however, called on the contractor handling the project to put in more efforts to ensure that the remaining works are completed within the stipulated period.

During the visit, the minister was taken around the site by the Project Manager of Rockson Engineering Limited, Sunny Okwedi.

He informed the Minister that engineering work at the power plant is 90 per cent complete, while vital equipment meant for the construction work have been procured and being installed.

SERAP Sues Fashola Over Spending On Power

Alleged Bribery: Witness Testifies As Rickey Tarfa’s Trial Continues
File photo

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) over his alleged “failure to account for the spending on the privatization of the electricity sector”.

The development contained in a statement signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Timothy Adewale on Sunday, follows the organisation’s Freedom of Information request sent earlier to Mr Fashola.

In the request dated May 7, SERAP had asked the minister to provide details of the exact amount of post-privatisation spending on generation companies (GENCOS), distribution companies (DISCOS) and Transmission Company of Nigeria to date, and to explain if such spending came from budgetary allocations or other sources, within a period of 14 days.

But according to Adewale, the case was taken to court last week over the minister’s failure to comply, as it has the right to request the information under contention on the basis of several provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011.

“In the suit number FHC/L/CS/972/18 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, SERAP is now seeking “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling Mr Fashola to provide specific details on the privatization of the electricity sector, the names of all the companies and individuals involved; and to publish widely including on a dedicated website any such information,” the deputy director said.

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The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its counsel, Ms. Bamisope Adeyanju read in part: “Publishing the information requested and making it widely available to the public would serve the public interest and provide insights relevant to the public debate on the ongoing efforts to prevent and combat a culture of mismanagement of public funds, corruption and impunity of perpetrators.”

“Most of the companies that won the bids had no prior experience in the power sector and little or no capacity at all to manage the sector. The privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) have yielded the country total darkness. The gains of privatization have been lost through alleged corruption, manipulation of rules and disregard to extant laws and lack of transparency in the exercise.”

“To further highlight the seriousness of the situation, several years after the country’s power sector was privatized, millions of Nigerian households particularly the socially and economically vulnerable sectors of the population continue to complain about outrageous bills for electricity not consumed, and poor power supply from distribution firms. Millions of Nigerians continue to be exploited through the use of patently illegal estimated billing by DISCOs. One wonders the essence of the privatization if there has been no corresponding improvement in power for Nigerians.”

“Enforcing the right to truth would allow Nigerians to gain access to information essential to the fight against corruption and provide a form of reparation to victims of grand corruption in the power sector. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its General Comment 3 has implied that privatization process should not be detrimental to the effective realization of all human rights, including access to regular electricity supply,” the suit read.