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Power sector probe: Obasanjo gave contract to blacklisted firm, Reps panel told

Posted by By JAMES OJO, Abuja on 2008/03/14 | Views: 457 |

Power sector probe: Obasanjo gave contract to blacklisted firm, Reps panel told


The much awaited public hearing on how former President Olusegun Obasanjo expended a whopping $16bilion on power sector without a corresponding improvement revealed Tuesday that he awarded the contract for Mambilla power project to a blacklisted German firm and commissioned two of the projects at Gereku and Omotoso uncompleted.

The much awaited public hearing on how former President Olusegun Obasanjo expended a whopping $16bilion on power sector without a corresponding improvement revealed Tuesday that he awarded the contract for Mambilla power project to a blacklisted German firm and commissioned two of the projects at Gereku and Omotoso uncompleted.

Shocked by the discovery, state governors and chairmen of the 776 local governments nationwide have demanded a return of $3.2 billion deducted from the excess crude oil to finance power projects by the Obasanjo administration.

Also, the House of Representatives Committee on Power and Steel probing the monumental wastage, demanded a return of N369, 637, 923 million expended so far by Lameyer International, the German firm handling an aspect of the multi-billion Mambilla Power Project.

President Umaru Yar’Adua and Speaker Dimeji Bankole listed by the committee to testify could not do so as they flew to Katsina for the 3-day prayer for the repose of the soul of Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Mohammed Kabir, who passed on last Saturday.

Deputy Speaker, Bello Nafada declared open the public hearing on behalf of Bankole, with a charge on the committee not to let down the millions of Nigerians that suffered the wastage in the power sector.
But testifying, Governors Gabriel Susuwam and Danbaba Suntai of Benue and Taraba states respectively, told the committee to do a thorough job and ensure that those found culpable in the $16 billion scandal be held accountable for their actions.

Angered by the failure of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) to materialize as scheduled, the governors said that the best service to Nigerians was for the company that collected tax payers money and refused to deliver to return such money, hence the reason for demanding refund of the $3.2billion deducted from source as contribution for its implementation.

Governor Suswam, the immediate past chairman of the House Committee on Power and Steel revealed that a visit by his committee to four of the projects including Gereku, Alaoje, Papalanto and Omotosho showed that they were still struggling to get off the ground in spite of the huge investments on them.
According to him, the project was a laudable initiative but there was no reason why we are where we are now if the funds were properly applied.

Particularly, he noted that the NIPP was established following the setting up of the Excess Crude Account by the National Assembly, which led to the agreement between the federal, states and local governments, to contribute from their share to the building of power plants to service the oil producing areas in the South-South region.

Suswam regretted that after billions of dollars had gone into the project, there was nothing much to justify such contributions from the states and local governments.
His Taraba mate, Alhaji Danbaba Suntai similarly revealed that the Mambilla power project suffered delay because of a conflict over the re-award of the contract to another contractor.

He said that the people of the state were pained that they were not allowed to enjoy the benefits of the project, saying that with the intervention of the House of Representatives, he was hopeful that the project would be resuscitated.

Suntai added that even though a Chinese conglomerate had since been awarded the contract of the $1.46billion first package of the project, it was yet to be paid anything.
He pointed out that adequate logistics were not taken into consideration in the planning of the projects, a situation which led to absence of the necessary gas pipelines to supply gas to the plants.
Testifying before the committee, Minister of state for power (Energy) Fatima Balaraba Ibrahim said though she could not confirm if really, fund for the power project was misapplied or not, she confirmed that there are cases where contractors collected money and disappeared.

She said that a committee has been set up to look into cases whereby contractors absconded after collecting mobilization, as well as those working behind schedule.
The minister said that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua would soon declare his promised state of emergency in the power sector, once he received the final report of the National Economic Council looking into the area, adding that the report would form the road map for the declaration of the state of emergency in the power sector.

She described the NIPP as a mind boggling project, in which a lot of money had been sunk, regretting that the work had not proceeded as scheduled but various measures were being put in place to ensure improvement in power supply to 12000 megawatts by 2011.
The public hearing continues today.

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Comments (9)

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Kim Worley(Greeley, Colorado, US)says...

I heard this in a song and had no idea what it meant. Googled it and this came up. Very Cool. ????????????????

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Obinna(Newark Nj)says...

I want to know more meaning and significant of this name obidike in igboland

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.