A rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to expose erring contractors and companies that collected money for projects without completing them. 

SERAP said it sent a Freedom of Information request to the minister, stating that it expected the list to cover the period from the return of democracy in 1999 to 2018.

According to SERAP, former Nigeria’s Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, reportedly blew the whistle on Channels TV when he said, “Contractors were given some contracts for power projects and were paid hundred percent upfront.

“The money went down the drain. Up till now, we are not holding the contractors responsible.

“People have collected money upfront one hundred percent and have disappeared; and have not even done any work".

SERAP emphasised that “the revelation by 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 11 trillion Naira meant to provide regular electricity supply was allegedly squandered by politicians and contractors under successive governments”.

In the FOI request dated 4 January, 2019 and signed by SERAP senior legal adviser, Bamisope Adeyanju, the organisation 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".

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The organisation also believes that “publishing the names will make it hard for contractors and companies to get away with complicity in grand corruption".

It further threatened that “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”.

“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,” a statement by the group read.

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