Poor Power: Obasanjo, Yar'Adua And Jonathan's Govt Squandered 11trl Naira - SERAP
'Ironic! The more money invested in the power sector the more the megawatts available for rationing among the over 170 million population reduces.'
Giving Nigerians constant electricity is one simple thing, but it appears like it is rocket science that will need a guru's intervention for it to happen.
Huge amount of money has been invested in the electricity sector, but like the dry land that does not get tired of soaking water poured on it, all the funds have been swallowed and darkness is what Nigerians still pay for.
The population still rations less than 5,000 megawatts at the moment.
A report now shows the amount that has been allegedly squandered all in the name of attempting to give Nigerians constant electricity that has remained a dream.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) released a report on Wednesday and it highlights how over 11 trillion Naira meant to provide regular electricity supply was allegedly squandered under the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
According to the report, “the total estimated financial loss to Nigeria from corruption in the electricity sector starting from the return to democracy in 1999 to date is over Eleven Trillion Naira (N11 Trillion Naira).
“This represents public funds, private equity and social investment (or divestments) in the power sector.
“It is estimated that may reach over 20 Trillion Naira in the next decade given the rate of Government investment and funding in the power sector amidst dwindling fortune and recurrent revenue shortfalls".
The 65-page report released at the Westown Hotels, Lagos is entitled: “From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector”.
The report presented to the media by Yemi Oke, an Associate Professor of Energy/Electricity Law, with the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, discloses that “the country has lost more megawatts in the post-privatisation era due to corruption, impunity, among other social challenges reflected in the report”.
The report shows that “the much-publicised power sector reforms in Nigeria under the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 is yet to yield desired and/or anticipated fruits largely due to corruption and impunity of perpetrators, regulatory lapses and policy inconsistencies.
Ordinary Nigerians continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector–staying in darkness, but still made to pay crazy electricity bills.”
The report launch was chaired by Mr Femi Falana who also delivered a speech.
He said: “This report is a must read, and I promise to lead in the follow-up litigation efforts to ensure the full implementation of the recommendations of the report”.
The report launch was also attended by Babatunde Irukera, the Director General/Chief Executive of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC); and Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who was represented by Mr Osita Nwajah, Director Public Affairs EFCC.
Both promised to work to ensure the full implementation of the recommendations contained in the report.
Others at the events were Barrister Babatunde Ogala; Dayo Olaide, Deputy Director Macarthur Foundation; Eva Kouka, Program Officer Ford Foundation; Motunrayo Alaka Coordinator Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism; representatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); the National Human Rights Commission, and the media.
The report reads: “The Obasanjo’s administration spent $10 billion on NIPP with no results in terms of increase in power generation. $13.278,937,409.94 was expended on the power sector in 8 years while unfunded commitments amounted to $12 billion.
“The Federal Government then budgeted a whopping 16 billion Naira for the various reforms under Liyel Imoke (2003 to 2007) which went down the drains as it failed to generate the needed amount of electricity or meet the set goals".
Part of the recommendations was for “the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami to request for the report of the House of Representative Committee that probed government spending in the power sector from 2000 to 2007, and the Elumelu House Probe Committee.
The committee had accused 21 persons and 36 companies of subversion of government policy on due process and SERAP wants Mr Malami to make the report public and also ensure appropriate legal action against anyone suspected to be involved in corruption as well as full recovery of corrupt funds.
“Mr Malami should direct the EFCC and ICPC to probe metering and billing fraud and corruption and bribery among Discos. Most consumers are unhappy with their billing methodology and feel short-changed by the operators," the group recommended.