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Group kicks against sale of NIPPs

By Femi Adekoya
09 November 2022   |   4:01 am
The Future Group (TFG) has called for a halt in the proposed sales of five of the Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), describing it as a bad move that would further plunge the power sector into a deeper crisis, injurious to the economy and the Nigerian populace.

The Future Group (TFG) has called for a halt in the proposed sales of five of the Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), describing it as a bad move that would further plunge the power sector into a deeper crisis, injurious to the economy and the Nigerian populace.

This is even as the group has also called on the Federal Government to relieve the Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE), Alex Okoh, of his job for allegedly conniving with others to dupe Nigerians of their commonwealth while calling for his immediate prosecution on account of the pending case of contempt of court over the sales of Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria (ASCON) Ikot Abasi.

In a widely circulated petition titled; Stop Okoh … Save Nigeria, to the National Assembly, EFCC, ICPC, the Presidency, the Judiciary, Civil Society Organisations and others, signed by its Chairman, Patrick Philip, the group drew the attention of the Federal Government and the general public to the dangers of the sales and allowing Okoh to continue to oversee BPE, which is put in charge of the proposed sales, as he is a person of interest in the entire saga.

The group noted that the NIPPs was established in 2004, stating that; “the programme was an intervention that aimed to improve government funding in the critically ailing electricity sector. However, 18 years past the project launch, there are contending conversations surrounding the Federal Government’s proposed sale of five NIPPs.

‘‘Insufficient electricity supply has always been an issue in Nigeria, inhibiting the development of the country’s industries and overall economic growth. In 2004, President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration launched the NIPP to address the challenge of power generation specifically. The project’s objectives also included curtailing the immoderate gas flaring from oil exploration.’’

“We wish to call on the EFCC to revisit case no: ID/1432/C/2015, filed at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja on the 25th of April, 2015 by the EFCC, between the Federal Republic of Nigeria versus Bolanle Babalakin, Alex Okoh, Stabilini Vision Limited, Bi-Courtney Limited and Renix Nigeria Limited; bothering on fraudulent retention of proceeds from a criminal conduct. We understand, attempts allegedly have been made in the past to stifle the case. We urge you to please proceed with the prosecution of this case, in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

”The interest of our country supersedes any other interests and therefore must be upheld at all times.”

While noting the objection of the House of Representatives to the sale of the five power plants located in Geregu, Omotosho, Olorunshogo, Calabar and Benin-Ihovbor, through BPE, which has as of 2022 gulped about $7.875 billion, it, however, lamented that; ‘‘the federal government’s decision to sell 25 key national assets, particularly the five National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) has been one bitter pill very difficult for Nigerians to swallow.

‘‘While the country is still grappling with epileptic power supply despite several billions so far sank into the power sector, it is totally distasteful for a government to contemplate selling such critical infrastructure now.’’

It noted further that; ‘‘the consequences of such sales in the country and Nigerians far outweigh its benefits. Almost eight years (2014) after the privatisation of the power sector, there has not been any visible improvement in terms of power supply, expansion or investments by the new owners of DisCos and GenCos.

‘‘A dime has never been declared as profit for the government’s 40 per cent asset ownership in the privatised companies till date. It has been a pitiable tale of ‘private gains, public losses.

‘‘Yet the federal government, rather than make these companies work effectively by demanding probity and accountability, is lamentably determined to discard another set of critical economic assets, with a flimsy and brazen reason to fund the 2023 budget”.