Court orders release of payment details to runaway electricity contractors
• Don’t expect regular power supply soon, AEDC boss tells Nigerians
A Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered the release of details of payments to all defaulting electricity contractors and companies by governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor delivered the judgment at the weekend following a Freedom of Information (FoI) suit marked FHC/L/CS/105/19 and brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
Justice Obiozor also ordered “full disclosure and publication of names of companies and whereabouts of contractors paid by successive governments since 1999 to carry out electricity projects across the country but disappeared with the money without executing such projects.”
SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, disclosed this yesterday in a statement issued in Lagos.
The details to be disclosed and published on a dedicated website and widely circulated are, information on specific names and details about contractors and companies paid by each government.
It would also capture the total amounts paid by each government and objectives of such payments, the level of execution of electricity projects, as well as details and specific location of projects executed across the country by each government since 1999.
The court also ruled in the suit brought against the Federal Government and Ministry of Power, that, “Failure to provide SERAP with details of payments made to contractors by each government since 1999 constitutes a breach of the FoI Act 2011.”
The court, therefore, ordered the President Buhari government to “urgently disclose whether there is an ongoing investigation or prosecution of contractors and companies paid by successive governments since 1999 to carry out electricity projects, but failed to execute such projects for which public funds were collected.”
Meanwhile, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has urged Nigerians not to expect regular supply of electricity any time soon.
Its Corporate Affairs Manager, Fadipe Oyebode, who denied claims that the company was deliberately denying the people of Niger State electricity supply, said, “We can only give what we have.”
Responding to questions after delivering a keynote address at the launch of Power Update Magazine, Oyebode blamed the challenges in the power sector on instability in the national grid.
In his paper titled: The Media, Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) delivered in Minna, he said his organisation was mindful of its customers’ safety and satisfaction.
Speaking, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, Abdulhamid Idowu Adeshina, said his discovery of a vacuum in reporting the power sector prompted his desire to start the publication.