Senate orders probe of billions spent under Obasanjo, Jonathan on electricity

Power Lines [Photo: energymixreport.com]
Power Lines used to illustrate the story [Photo: energymixreport.com]

The Senate, Thursday, constituted a 13-member ad-hoc committee to conduct investigation into the management of funds appropriated for the power sector by successive governments since 1999.

The committee, led by Abubakar Kyari, has a two-week mandate to conduct its investigations and submit its report to the Senate.

The timeframe given nevertheless, the Senate adjourned plenary to September 29.

The investigation is expected to cover the tenures of former President Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007), late President Umaru Yar’Adua (2007-2010) and President Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2015).

The Senate took the decision as parts of resolutions that followed a motion by the Majority Leader, Ali Ndume.

The ad-hoc committee will also probe the unbundling of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria by the Federal Government, the Senate resolved.

Originally, Mr. Ndume sought the immediate reconnection of some parts of Borno State back to the National grid in view of the challenges his constituents face as results of the outage.

Mr. Ndume expressed worry that the disconnection of Maiduguri in Borno State from the national grid, as well as the degeneration of power supply across the country, had affected the economic activities, especially collapse of several industries.

Saying no country can be said to near development without stable power supply, he regretted Nigeria’s production of over 4,000 megawatts for over 160 million population, while South Africa with far lesser population generates 40,000 megawatts.

“This Senate needs to investigate to give the government support,” he said. “For years now, a lot of money has been spent but there is nothing to show for it.”

Danjuma Goje, in his contribution, said “The problem of power was on before 1999, and I am surprised that up till today the power sector is grappling with sufficient power supply.

“This motion is apt because there is a need to find out what happened, in spite of the unbundling and huge amount so far spent.”

The Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, lamented Nigeria’s deplorable power generation. For him, after corruption, lack of power is the greatest cause of hardship in Nigeria.

“We thought that with the Power Reform Act and unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, we will begin to see a relief with regard to power supply; unfortunately, it is not so,” Mr. Akpabio said.

Further, the senate urged the federal government to complete the Mambilla Power Project with the aim of improving electricity supply in the country.

It also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Transmission Company Of Nigeria to immediately reconnect Maiduguri back to the national grid.

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