By Emmanuel Aziken & Inalegwu Shuaibu
ABUJA â€” President Umaru Yarâ€˜Adua is moving to abolish the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the body at the centre of the N5.2 billion fraud allegedly masterminded by some members of the National Assembly and senior officers of the government.
The Presidentâ€™s intention conveyed in a statement to the Senate yesterday came as he also requested the approval of N25 billion for the expansion of the main road leading from the Abuja airport to the city centre. Work on the expansion project remarkably was flagged off by the President more than a month ago.
In his statement seeking the repeal of the REA, President Yarâ€˜Adua said:
â€œI forward herewith for kind consideration and passage into law, the attached draft Bill for an Act to Amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 to repeal the Rural Electrification Agency and for matters connected thereto.â€™â€™
â€œPursuant to the above, therefore and in line with the powers vested in the National Assembly, I hereby present the said Bill for the kind consideration of the Distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
â€œItâ€™s my hope that the Distinguished Senators will consider and pass the amendment Bill in your usual expeditious manner. Please accept, Mr. Senate President the assurances of my highest consideration.â€™â€™
The REA became the centre of national attention with the revelation of the N5.2 billion fraud allegedly masterminded by Senator Nicholas Ugbane chairman of the Senate committee on Power and his House counterpart Mr. Ndudi Elumelu and some other members of the House of Representatives and officials of the Ministry of Power and the REA.
The REA was established in 2006 to facilitate the rapid access of the rural and semi-urban communities in the country to electricity in a cost effective manner using grid and off grid options.
The import of the Presidentâ€™s bill could not be immediately understood yesterday.
In his second letter dated 5th June 2009 seeking for additional funds to build the access road to the Abuja International Airport, he said:
â€This request is to enable the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) fund the construction of additional lanes on each carriage way of the Outer Northern Expressway (ONEX) including two fly-over bridges and rehabilitation of Airport Fly-Over.â€™