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Lawmakers furious as TCN fails to disclose actual amount electricity generated daily

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Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) officials on Monday exhibited their ignorance about the industry in which the company is a critical stakeholder before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance when they could not state categorically the amount megawatts of electricity generating companies generate daily, particularly the Azura power company.

The federal government had signed series of agreements with Azura — namely the power purchase agreement (PPA) on April 22, 2013, the put/call option agreement (PCOA) on October 22, 2014 and the PCOA “direct agreement” on December 18, 2014, with a clause that the federal government would “take or pay” for power generated as declared by Azura, “whether or not it is taken by the government-owned transmission company.”

The committee chaired by Hon. James Faleke (APC, Lagos) also picked holes in the $33 million being paid monthly to Azura, lamenting that two or three persons might have sat down to commit Nigeria to such an agreement without commensurate value for money.

At the resumed investigative hearing, the lawmakers while expressing concerns about the erratic power supply in the country, lampooned the three Directors from TCN, warning that their seats were in danger for failing to represent Nigerians.

Faleke who accused the TCN officials of not being ready to tell Nigerians the truth, said the officials were trying to twist issues relating to power generation by Azura power company

According to him, the TCN ought to know the number of electricity megawatt consumed per day.

He said, “I am not confused. Transmission Company of Nigeria, first your MD took permission, according to you, to see the minister rather than coming to explain to Nigerians and to clarify issues. Market operator, if I understood your earlier statement that they have not been producing up to the 450 that was signed and they have justification for not producing up to that, in that case, will you say as a Nigerian that they have violated the agreement they signed?

“What you are telling Nigerians generally is that from the position you hold and being paid by taxpayers, you are not representing Nigerians and that your seat is already in danger.

“That is what you are telling Nigerians because you cannot even take an informed decision when it is necessary to take decisions on behalf of Nigerians. That is exactly what you have just exhibited.

“Why you are here before us was because you evacuate the power produced by Generating Companies, not only Azura. NBET was here on Friday and they will still be here tomorrow or so. So, it is not closed.

“We are only asking you from your own function as an evacuator of power, what power you have been evacuating from a 450megawwats generation company. We have not gone into other power generation companies. We have just picked one – not one.

“And do you know why we are concerned? We are concerned that Nigerians are willing to set up industries but there is no power, yet we are paying huge sums of money. This is just the issue, nothing more; not witch hunting. It is not about TCN; it is about Nigeria. So, all the questions that I have for TCN, I have to reserve them until your MD is here.

“There are other vital questions that this committee will want to ask. When the MD is seated, we will ask. Whatever position we have found ourselves, we are just opportune amongst 200 million people.”

Corroborating Faleke’s statement, another member of the Committee, Hon. Taiwo Oluga said, “If it is your document and we are arguing on it, whether it is megawatts or it is in kilowatts, an agreement has been signed on behalf of Nigerians in megawatts. Now you are presenting documents to the House in kilowatts/hour. So, Mr. Chairman, I will want to say that maybe these documents, they should re-present while we expect the chief executive to come and explain to Nigerians why $33m will be paid (to Azura) every month, yet we are not getting results.”

Another lawmaker, Hon. John Dyegh suggested that they submit the documents presented TCN to a consultant for a proper analysis.

The TCN Directors, Victor Adewumi, Executive Director, Transmission Service Provider, Engr Edmond Eje, Director Market Operations, and Mr Ogwu Benedict, in charge of Agreement, had in their presentations said Azura was supposed to generate 450 Megawatt and most of the time its generate lower.

In his ruling, Faleke summoned the Managing Director of TCN, Sule Abdulaziz, to appear before it unfailingly August 23.

The Committee currently investigating the proposed sale of the Nigerian Integrated Power Project (NIPP) had at the investigative hearing last week, with the Managing Director of NBET, Nnaemeka Eweluka, TCN, and Federal Inland Revenue Service, lamented that Nigerians do not get value for the huge sum of money they are paying.

The TCN Directors are: Victor Adewumi, Executive Director, Transmission Service Provider, Edmond Eje, Director Market Operations, and Ogwu Benedict, in charge of Agreement, had in their presentations said Azura was supposed to generate 450 Megawatt and most of the time its generally lower.

In his ruling, Faleke summoned the Managing Director of TCN, Sule Abdulaziz, to appear before it unfailingly on August 23.

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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Zulum approves N1.3bn scholarship for 997 nursing, midwifery students

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Gov. Babagana Zulum, of Borno has approved the release of N1.3billion as scholarship for 997 nursing and midwifery students from the state.

Zulum stated this on Wednesday while inaugurating the scholarship programme at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Maiduguri.

He said that out of the 1,080 nominations, 40 from each of the 27 local government areas of the state, 997 qualified to benefit from the scholarship.

He also announced that the 997 beneficiaries of the scholarship would receive automatic employment after graduation.

The governor said that the support was to encourage the students to complete their studies so as to bridge the workforce demand in the state’s healthcare system.

“The government has allocated  N1,305,189,000 for scholarship, with a breakdown of N124,149,000 earmarked for tuition fees, the remaining N1,181,040,000 will be disbursed as monthly stipend of N30,000 to each beneficiary throughout their studies,” Zulum said.

He added that N201 million bursary allowance would be given to 2,010 nursing and midwifery students who did not benefited from the scholarship, and directed that each of them should receive N100,000.

Zulum, who stated that ongoing construction of two colleges of nursing would be completed this year, inaugurated a lecture theatre complex and a 3,000-capacity multipurpose hall at the college.

Earlier, Lawan Wakilbe, the Commissioner for Education, said that the government had approved over N6 billion scholarship, out of which about N2.7 billion was disbursed to students from the state studying in higher institutions across the country.

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