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U.S.-based Nigerians seek emergency declaration in power sector

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Some U.S.-based Nigerians, including professionals in various fields, have advised President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in the power sector.

The advice came through an opinion survey conducted  in New York during the weekend.

The respondents also urged the Buhari administration to focus on human capital development in the next four years.

Mr Kazeem Bello, President of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), New Jersey chapter, said that constant power supply and sound human capital were supposed to form the foundation for economic and national development.

Nigeria
Nigeria

“The government should take the bull by the horn and declare a state of emergency in the power sector.

“Nigerians are very creative and industrious people; just give them constant and stable power supply, you will see wonders,’’ Bello, a financial and management consultant, said.

Nigeria currently generates an average of 4,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity for a population exceeding 180 million, a situation that constrains growth and development, according to experts.

The challenge has defied solutions by successive administrations, including that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo which reportedly sank 16 billion dollars into the sector without result.

During his campaigns in 2007, late President Umaru Yar’Adua had promised to declare a state of emergency in the power sector, but made a U-turn on assumption of office.

Mr Oyedeji Afolabi, a project consultant in the energy, oil and gas sector, urged Buhari to get to the root of the country’s power problem.

“Nigeria’s electricity problem is not insurmountable. The government should get to the root of the matter and tackle it head on.

“Egypt did it please. The country was generating about 40 per cent of its energy need until President Abdel el-Sisi came on board in 2014 and declared a state of emergency in the sector.

“Today, Egypt is a net exporter of electricity having developed the capacity to generate far more than it needs. We can do the same thing in Nigeria,’’ Afolabi said.

Bello and Afolabi urged the administration to intensify its efforts at creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

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“They have to invest in innovation especially among the youth, and then make funds available to small-holder private sector players.

“We have billions of Naira being owed AMCON (Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria) by rich Nigerians, but they are not paying the money.

“Why don’t you refinance those loans and direct them to millions of Nigerians that will gladly take them to generate economic activities and then pay back,” Bello said.

Others, who spoke in the same vein, including Mr David Nwoye, a security consultant, advised the administration to also emphasise the rule of law in the next four years.

Nwoye stressed the need for strong institutions through the creation of mechanisms for checks and balances in the civil and public service.

“The administration should encourage civil and public servants to report their colleagues and bosses to higher authorities in the event of misdemeanor.

“The check and balance mechanism should come with adequate protection for them against any form of intimidation or victimisation.

“And then those found wanting should be held to account along with their accessories in line with the due process of law.

“I have no doubt that these would not only strengthen our institutions but also reduce corruption in the system to a large extent,’’ Nwoye added.

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