…say President must hear it
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives Committee on Power, yesterday, chided the Minister of Power, Abubarkar Aliyu for coming to read speeches to them whereas they needed answers and solutions to the current blackout in Nigeria.
The lawmakers had invited the Minister to explain the current situation to them.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Magaji Aliyu had in his opening remarks at the committee told the Minister that Nigerians were worried as the unhealthy situation development had affected businesses.
He said: “It may be recalled that Nigerians whom we represent experience one of the worst moment of electricity supply across the country. This development has caused variety of problems affecting peoples’ welfare which makes social living condition very uncomfortable.
“It has caused collapse of small businesses whose operations depend on stable electricity supply. The situation has also aggravated increased process in commodities and services especially those that require electricity supply.
“The overheated socio-economic environment due to very poor electricity supply attracted huge public outcry for immediate solutions, especially given the contractual nature of provision of power and energy services in the post privatization era by the Nigerian Power Supply Industry.
“Against this background and acting as peoples’ representatives, this interactive session is organized to request the Hon. Minister to among others: Explain the remote and immediate causes of the current deplorable power supply across the country; Explain the technical, operational and administrative measures taken by the Ministry to address the challenges and its devastating consequences against life, welfare and
economy; and Suggest in your highlight the areas which the House of Representatives or indeed the National Assembly can provide legislative support to overcome the challenges apparently disturbing all Nigerians”.
Responding, the Minister represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Nebolisa Anako read a long scripted epistle on the achievements of the ministry amongst others to which the lawmakers did not find relevant.
They said the speech had no bearing and direct answers to the current blackout in the country and therefore asked described the Minister’s speech as essay and tutorials.
Some of the lawmakers remarks went thus:
The Minister is giving us projection-Engr. Mohammed Wudil representing Wudil Federal constituency of Kano State.
“Mr, chairman, in your speech, you even expected the Minister to explain the immediate causes of this current deplorable power supply in this country. We are talking about what is happening now. Why is it that we don’t have light? But all what he is telling us is projection. What is happening? Is it that the situation. Is transmission or generation problem? What is happening now? At what capacity are they running now. That’s the seriousness we will like to hear from you. Why are Nigerians not getting light? This submission is not in agreement with what Nigerians expected.
So, we will in darkness till next year? Haba! Hon. Aisha Dukku from Gombe State
“Mr. Chairman, what the perm sec is telling us is end of next year. So, that means we will continue to be in darkness until end of 2023? Haba! No, no!
Ministery not prepared to give us power-Muraino Ajibola from Oyo State
“These problems are not starting now. For instance, we know, every year, there will be shortage of water. We also know that most of time during the period of January to March, there is always this shotdown. We have abandance of gas but we are not making use of it. What we do is fire brigade approach. Mr. Chairman, the summary of it is that we are not prepared to give power and I think it’s very sad. They also bring light when they want to send estimated bills to us.
It is lack of responsibility-Hon. Chisom Dike, Oyigbo federal constituency of Rivers State
“Mr. Chairman, the issue of 60% performance from Shell to NNPC, this is something that has been going on for a long time. If you are a coordinating ministry, you could be able to project the problems that could arise in the near future. It is lack of responsibility”.
This is a tutorial, essay- Hon. ado Soli representing Jibia federal constituency, Katsina State.
“Mr. Chairman, I don’t think the ministry of power is on charge. There is a complete abdication of their responsibility. It is not their responsibility to deliver power to the consumers but they have a role to play. Mr. Chairman, why we don’t have power, the Gencos have said it in black and white and that is the problem because NBET that takes the bulk of electricity when generated have failed in their responsibility. The Gencos are saying NBET is owing them, N1.6trn. That’s what they said. So, when I say some jargons, that is not true. We know how much work that has been done on the grip. I don’t see why we don’t feed the grip. We must get NBET. Even the himself lamented. We don’t know what the ministry is doing. I think we should not be narrating to this committee this essay. This is a tutorial. Left for me, it’s a tutorial. I have utmost respect for the perm sec but they must written this for him to present to us. We are grateful for the information but we need to know the generation as of today.”
We want light, give us light- Hon. Princess Mariam Onuoha, Okigwe federal constituency of Imo State
“Mr. Chairman, I want to express my displeasure at the way the federal ministry of powers and their MDAs are handling the issues of power and power related programmes. I want to assume that there is some level of conspiracy targeted at bringing down government efforts despite all the money we have appropriated. And why is this happening when we are about to round up the present administration? Mr. Chairman, you will agree with me that there is no project this ministry has brought before us that has seen the day light. It’s always from one story to the other. Tell us what effects you are making to cure the defects. We don’t want to hear the complaints. We need practical steps to solving these problems. We want light. That’s what you were engaged to do. Give us light and the heat this period is unconscionable. If you don’t solve this problem, you will be causing a lot of other health problems. I am sad. Give us light.”
Why is Minister not here in person? Hon. Sam Onuigbo
“Mr. I want to register my displeasure over the absence of the minister today. This is a very serious matter that has almost shot down the economic activities in the country. We are the representatives of the people and they have run to us and that’s why the chairman has called for this important meeting. So, to now see that the minister is not here; the perm sec has done a fantastic job of reading the speech to us. He’s a civil servant and now, we can’t get clear, direct answers from the minister. So, what do we take home? The perm sec has been busy reading a very long speech. We wanted specifics and we didn’t get it.”
Ruling on the matter, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Aliyu said that the House would ensure that Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET was returned to the ministry of power.
He direct the Minister to go and return on Friday with solutions to the power challenges in Nigeria.
“It is our opinion that we have to revisit the privatization. We thought you would come with a list of how many plants we have and their capacities today. We have to do everything possible to bring back NBET under ministry of power. We will never make progress is NBET is elsewhere. We will involve our leadership to ensure that the right thing is done for this country. There is nothing you have told us that is new. Nothing because there would be light today and tomorrow. So, you have to go back and tell the minister that we are not on the same page with the ministry; and we did not agree with this submission in totality. There must be light. We have to work hard to ensure that this problem is solved. Where are the NIPP projects? How many plants do we have? We have generation, transmission, distribution, everything! The President must hear the this. And we want you to come back to this by Friday with better solutions. I so direct”, he said.