A human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, on Wednesday released a report detailing how over N11tn had been pumped into the power sector since 1999 without any result to show for it.
The group, in the 65-page report it launched in Lagos, concluded that the funds were squandered under the administrations of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
In the report titled, “From darkness to darkness: How Nigerians are paying the price for corruption in the electricity sector,” SERAP concluded that the perennial poor power supply in the country was proof of corruption in the power sector.
It called for the probe and prosecution of certain principal actors in the power sector, including a former governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, and Prof. Prof. Chinedu Nebo, for their alleged roles in the power sector scam.
The group said, “The Obasanjo’s administration spent $10bn on NIPP with no results in terms of increase in power generation. $13.278,937,409.94 was expended on the power sector in eight years while unfunded commitments amounted to $12bn.
“The Federal Government then budgeted a whopping N16bn for the various reforms under Liyel Imoke (2003- 2007) which went down the drain as it failed to generate the needed amount of electricity or meet the set goals.”
Presenting the report to journalists on Wednesday on behalf of SERAP, an associate professor of Energy/Electricity Law at the University of Lagos, Yemi Oke, said, “The country has lost more megawatts in the post-privatisation era due to corruption, impunity, among other social challenges as reflected in the report.
“The much-publicised power sector reforms in Nigeria, under the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005, have yet to yield desired and 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.”
At the event, which held in Ikeja, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), commended SERAP for the project, vowing to ride upon the recommendations in the report to institute appropriate legal actions against the government.
Falana, who was the chairman on the occasion, 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 acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, was represented on the occasion by the Director, Public Affairs, EFCC, Mr. Osita Nwajah, who promised that the anti-graft agency would look into the recommendations contained in the report.
Among other recommendations, SERAP advised that federal lawmakers must desist from manipulating the award of electricity contracts under the guise of constituency projects.