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Senate Calls for Holistic Investigation of Privatised Government Assets

  • Mourns Olubadanomoagege ovie
  • Swears-in Omoagege

Worried by the gap between darkness and light despite billions of dollars invested in power  sector by the Federal Government over the last few years, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria today Thursday beamed its searchlight on the irregularities associated with the privatization of Government assets and resolved to punish culpable individuals who have defrauded the Federal Government by undervaluing privatized Government assets and consequently allowing such invaluable assets to slide into a dismal state, serving little or no beneficial purpose to the government or consumers . This is consequent upon a motion sponsored by Senator Mohammed Hassan (Yobe North) and 5 others.

The motion titled, ‘Unwholesome Practices by Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria ltd under the direction and control of the Bureau of Public Enterprises’ revealed that the Federal Government owned Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which is saddled with providing critical power transmission services to the power industry and the entire nation was transferred to the management of the Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria ltd (MHLN) by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) under a management services contract during the power sector reforms which under the agreement, the TCN  paid  taxes of the management service contractors while  MHLN enjoyed a tax exemption from the money that it  paid under the agreement.

The Senate also notes that the BPE was a member of the Board of Directors of all the power Distribution Companies (DISCOS) in Nigeria with the Director General as a signatory of the tripartite agreement between BPE, TCN and MHLN, thus abdicating the supervisory role the BPE ought to play in the whole process that was apparently fraught with irregularities and violations of the laws of Nigeria.

Buttressing his presentation, Senator Hassan stated that Nigeria had invested $8.4 billion (over 2.5 trillion Naira) in the power sector but the BPE privatized Nigeria’s power assets to the tune of $5.4 billion (about 1.6 trillion Naira). Worse still, experts in the power sector had estimated that it takes a $1 million to generate a megawatts of electricity and as such Nigeria should have been currently generation over 8000 megawatts but was still floundering around the 2000 megawatts mark for a country of 170 million people.

Senator Dino Melaye, who was a member of the Senate ad-hoc Committee on Power that investigated the matter, expressed dismay at the misconducts of the BPE, TCN and the MHLN, fingering them as the cause for Nigeria’s persistent power problems. Noting that much of the transactions of the BPE were shrouded in secrecy, Melaye declared that the BPE’s role in the transfer of the government’s power assets (and indeed other privatization operations of the agency) should be probed because most of its transactions actually resulted in a loss to the general public.

Another member of the ad-hoc committee, Senator Bassey Akpan stated that the situation on ground simply amounted to an economic sabotage as most of the transactions conducted by the BPE were not based on the capacities of the recipients but on personal interests. Akpan  suggested a fine-tuning of the laws setting up the BPE and other similar agencies of Government with a view to putting punitive measures in place.

Senator Danjuma Goje also declared that Nigerians had not benefitted from the privatization of the power sector as ‘everybody is crying’, including the DISCOS, GENCOS and consumers.’ (GENCO stands for power Generating Companies). Calling for a complete review of Nigeria’s privatization processes, Goje asked the Senate to investigate how the BPE had sold out Nigeria’s common wealth without any appreciable effect.

Senate President, Olubukola Saraki however said that this conundrum was actually a slight on the Senate since it was responsible for making the laws by which these agencies operate. Wondering how the BPE could single-handedly conduct a transaction of such magnitude  without making reports to a higher authority, Saraki stated that the Senate must learn from this situation and always seek to bring all its investigation to a reason conclusion as the power sector was a vital nerve that touches every Nigerian.

Meanwhile, the Senate mourned the late Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugbade who passed away at the age of 101, two weeks ago. Responding to a motion sponsored by Senator Rilwan Adesoki Akanbi (Oyo South) and 16 others (predominantly from the South West), the Senate observed a minute silence in his honour, resolved to send a delegation to condole with his family and the people of Oyo State and urged the Federal Government to name a national or state monument in his honour.

The Senate also swore-in Senator -elect Ovie Omo-Agege representing Delta Central Senatorial district following the nullification of Senator Ighoyota Amori’s mandate by the Court of Appeal a few weeks ago.  Senator Ovie belongs to the Labour Party.

On a controversial note, Senator Yusuf A. Yusuf (Taraba Central) contradicted the reports of his colleague Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, over the issue of Boko Haram insurgents disguising themselves as herdsmen and killing innocent Taraba indigenes, especially in the Bali and Gassol Local Government areas of the State, by the declaring that no such incident was took place. Describing Senator Bwacha as his brother, Senator Yusuf urged his colleagues to respect the opinions of people in their constituents and make proper investigations before presenting their reports to the Senate.

In an interview with pressmen after the plenary session, Senator Bwacha showed pictures of bloody corpses as a proof of his position on the matter and that time would reveal who was actually telling the truth.

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Published on: 2015-10-14 00:05:45 Hits : 13623
Senate Clears Ministerial Nominees No filibustering Final list released Screening continues Contrary to expectation today, the Nigerian Senate has cleared all Ministerial nominees with no filibustering. They are Mr. Kayode Fayemi, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Osagie Ehanire, Am...


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The Senate | Federal Republic of Nigeria | National Assembly Complex | Three Arms Zone, PMB 141, Abuja | Nigeria