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Failed Nigeria Power Projects,Senate to Probe Obasanjo and Jonathan.

Omololu Ogunmade 
The Senate yesterday constituted a 12-man committee to probe the management of funds allocated to the power sector since 1999 by the administrations of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.

The committee chaired by Senator Abubakar Kyari has four weeks to conclude its assignment.

The decision to probe the management of power sector allocations since 1999 was the fallout of a motion by the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, on the disconnection of Maiduguri from national power grid.
The Senate therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct  the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to immediately reconnect Maiduguri to the national grid.

It also urged the federal government to complete the Mambilla power project with a view to improving electricity supply in the country.

The Senate further condemned the inability of TCN to provide continuous and uninterrupted power supply to all parts of the country.
Ndume expressed concern that Nigeria, with the population of over 150 million, boasts of producing ridiculous 4, 600 mega watts whereas South Africa with the population of 52 million produces as many as 40,000 mega watts.

He also observed that the disconnection from the national grid and continued erratic power supply across the country had affected economic activities and resulted in the collapse of several industries.
The senator further expressed concern that with an installed power generation potential of about 5,000 mega watts, the output being distributed at present is about 1,950 megawatts of energy.

Furthermore, he said it was disheartening that Nigeria continues to grope in darkness while Iran with only 70 million population generates about 42,000 megawatts and South Korea with about 35 million population generates about 60,000 mega watts of electricity.

Speaking on the motion, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) said the motion was apt as he lamented the untold hardship that poor power supply had caused Nigerians.

“The problem of power was on before 1999 and I am surprised that up till today, the power sector is still grappling with insufficient power supply. This motion is apt because there is a need to find out what happened in spite of the unbundling and huge amount spent so far,’’ he said.

In his contribution, Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North West), lamented how many companies had been shut down as a result of irregular power supply.

He regretted that financial contributions by some states in the South for improved power supply had made no difference.

“In 2015, we are celebrating 4,000 mega watts; for me, this is worrisome. We cannot have employment without power, and Nigerians  are  complaining about high cost and some localities which have not seen electric power for months are asked to pay high tariff,’’ he said.

In his remark, Senate President Bukola Saraki said inadequate power supply in the country called for concern in view of the adverse effects it has had on the nation’s economic growth.

According to him, besides corruption, poor power supply is another problem that has impeded the country’s growth.

“We thought that with the Power Reform Act and unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), we would begin to see a relief with regard to power supply, unfortunately, it is not so.

“The adhoc committee we will set up should look at the activities of the Discos and what is preventing Nigerians from benefitting from the unbundling of the PHCN,’’ he said.

Also yesterday, the Senate set up an ad -hoc committee to examine the aviation sector and come up with strategies for the repositioning the industry.

The National Assembly took the decision following a motion sponsored by the Deputy Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, on “the worrisome and unstable position of Nigeria aviation industry.”

Na’Allah who said the growth and development of domestic airlines in the country had remained stagnant, called for total review of extant laws guiding the operations of domestic and international airlines in Nigeria.

He observed that a number of domestic airlines, including Sosoliso, Concord, Sloak, Okada, Chanchangi, had gone into extinction a few years after take-off.

Meanwhile, the Senate had adjourned plenary till September 29 in observance of its annual six weeks’ break.

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