*Questions plans to buy N13bn office complex rejected by in 2015 at N7bn
*Says sacked TCN MD stood against fraud, others
By Victor Young & Udeme Akpan
Organised labour, on Tuesday, raised alarm over moves by Ministry of Power to acquire a new office complex for the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN at the cost of N13 bilion after the same complex rejected by stakeholders in the power sector in 2015 at the cost of N7 billion.
Speaking through the United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, which the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, is affiliated to, labour said it was not surprised that the questionable moves to buy the complex was coming few days after the removal of Usman Gur Mohammed as Managing Director of TCN, because he stood against unethical practices.
ULC in a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, claimed that the “hasty and unwarranted removal” of the Muhammed as TCN MD had been in the making for a long time, apparently because he stood in the way of some powerful men in the Power Ministry and the Presidency, who might have set their sights on some juicy projects in the sector.
According to the statement, “Gur Mohammed to our knowledge is an expert in the sector who had made a huge impact in building and delivering transmission capacity within the nation.
“He came well recommended from African Development Bank, AfDB. Within a short period, he had been able to increase the capacity of the company to over 8,000MW deliverable capacity, which is almost a 60% increase over what he met on assumption of office.
“His effectiveness is located in his altruism and commitment to the objectives of the company and the mandate to ensure an accountable and transparent operation of the Transmission Company within the ambits of the anti-corruption framework of the Federal Government.
“Little did he know that his insistence on probity and due process was going to pit him against those who want to turn the company and indeed the power sector into money-making conduit for themselves and their cronies.
“At stake is the effort to locate an office complex for the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. An office complex which had hitherto been located and was agreed by all the major stakeholders in the TCN for N7 billion was later reviewed up to N13 billion.
“This is for the purchase of the same building without any further improvement. This is a mind-boggling difference of N6 billion that cannot be explained in any way.
“The TCN boss’ refusal to play along became a cardinal sin that demanded his axing. Now that they may have succeeded in their plot to remove him, the latest information just reaching us is that they want to immediately commence the initial payment of funds to the owners of the building within the next two days.
“The haste and coincidence can be explained in the apparent greed of a gang trying to share their spoil after a successful outing. The nation is about to lose N6 billion in TCN through the itchy fingers of these guys.”