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Why Buhari is most powerful president in the world - Dogara

The recent report alleging that a whopping sum of N10.08 trillion (about $30 billion) meant for the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) was misappropriated by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) is a mind-boggling development that should not go without thorough investigation. We notice that since the news broke few weeks ago, little or nothing has been heard about it again.

It is regrettable that in spite of such humungous amount invested in the power sector, Nigerian consumers have continued to be criminally exploited by paying for bleak darkness daily in the name of electricity bills, manually or by tampered pre-paid meters under the new GENCO/DISCO regime. The move by the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee to launch probe into the alleged reign of corruption, impunity and infractions in the NDPHC/NIPP therefore elicited interest among Nigerians.

It would be recalled that the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, before the National Assembly went on recess, made a shocking revelation during an opening ceremony of the Ad-hoc Committee’s sitting at the National Assembly, Abuja. According to him, a staggering sum of N10trillion ($30billion) largely sourced from the Excess Crude Account belonging to the nation’s three tiers of government, had been allegedly wasted on the power sector between 2005 and now without any meaningful result.

As a limited liability company, the NDPHC as alleged by the Speaker has been operating in flagrant violations of the law. According to Dogara, “the NDPHC does not submit its annual budget and project plans for appropriation by the National Assembly, while, as alleged, it also generates Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) in trillions of Naira, which cannot be determined because it is neither divulged nor paid into the coffers of the Government, but rather expended by the company without Legislative approval or input from the other tiers of Government”.

There is another revelation. The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) that is supposed to be a stakeholding partner in the NDPHC also claimed ignorant of the joint investment in the company. The organisation’s consultant, Alhaji Mohammed Ali, said the organisation was not aware of its investment in NDPHC disclosing that he has never been invited to NDPHC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and neither has it received Share Certificate or dividends for its investments in the company since inception in 2005. The association has demanded for 10 years audited accounts of the company to enable it make informed decision on next step to take about its investment in the company. Interestingly, the company denied any wrong doing in all the allegations.

Dogara has vowed that the House would deploy its constitutional powers to investigate how the money was spent and recover any stolen kobo out of the money. To this end, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, his Finance counterpart, Mrs Kemi Adeola, Group Managing Director of NNPC, Engr. Maikanti Baru, as well as the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had been summoned by the House committee to explain what they know about the money.

We would like to urge the NASS to, beyond the alleged mismanagement of power sector funds, equally look into the power sector privitisation with a view to establishing whether the process was clinical, as well as scrutinize the capability or otherwise of the companies that acquired the facilities.

Undeniably, the effort of the House is a right step in the right direction. But can the law makers, indeed, unravel the mysterious billion-eating monster in the nation’s electricity sector? We are quick to remind the law makers that Nigerians are equally wary of their endless probes that yield no results at the long run, because this is not the first time they are probing the rot in the power sector. We remember the Elumelu Panel that hit the rock under curious controversy. Up till date, the report of the probe remains unknown and tax payers’ money wasted. Is this going to be any different?

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