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Power Sector Has Broken Down Completely, Govt Wasted N1.7 Trillion In Three Years — El-Rufai Drops Bombshell

Peter Okunoren

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The power sector has broken down completely, the government declared on Thursday after its activities were reviewed by the National Economic Council (NEC)

The government said there is no result to show for the N1.7 trillion financial support it gave to the sector in the last three years.

It added that Nigerians must now be involved in finding solutions to the ‘broken’ sector.

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai made the government’s position known at the end of NEC’s January meeting at the State House in Abuja.

E-Rufai, who is the Chairman of a committee set up by NEC to harmonize the Power Sector Reform, told reporters that the government was desirous of ending the challenges hindering the sector.

He said the committee’s request to throw the process of finding a solution to the national power crisis open was approved.

According to him, beyond experts and other critical players in the sector, ordinary Nigerians, who have ideas and experience the power would be invited to bring in memoranda, as part of the plan to solve the intractable national power problem.

He said: “On the status of the ownership of the distribution companies, the committee met five times since its inauguration on the 5th of December, we’ve made significant progress in getting presentations from all the stakeholders in the electricity supply industry and we all agreed that the electricity supply industry is broken and the situation of the power sector is a national emergency that requires all hands to be on the deck, to interrogate why the sector is not working for the overall progress and benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.

“We’ve received presentations from virtually all the stakeholders. We came to NEC to ask that we co-opt the Association of the Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria and the Association of Electricity Generating Companies in Nigeria as members of the committee and NEC approved that.

“We updated NEC on what we have found so far and promised that work on this will continue and we’ll submit our report in the shortest possible time.

“But the electricity industry is quite complex and technical and even those of us that have been asked to be members of the committee are learning a lot from the various presentations, sometimes conflicting presentations from various stakeholders in the power sector.

“However, I think there is the will on the part of all the members to really go to the root of all the problems and speak to ourselves in an honest national conversation and find a way to fix this sector because this country will never make progress, will never create jobs or industrialize without a functioning electricity industry and that’s the goal that NEC has given us beyond just establishing the status of ownership of the distribution companies.

“Everyone in Nigeria is affected by electricity and we want to hear your views; what you think is wrong with the sector, what your experiences are, dealing with the distribution companies, what you think are solutions to these problems. “Sometimes, solutions are not technical, but commonsensical. So, while we have all the technical experts on the table, we also want to hear from the Nigerian public

“We hope that when we receive these memoranda, we will curate them and analyze them. We’ll summarise them and various suggestions and solutions will be published as part of our report to NEC. After that, we can go to the government of the federation for decisions.

“The objective is how do we fix the power sector. This is the question we want to ask every Nigerian and we want suggestions. We want experiences, we want everything out there and we’ll protect the confidentiality of anyone that chooses to give us confidential information, but we need everyone on deck.”

On the power sector reforms and the required steps to take, El-Rufai said: “There are other issues. The entire sector is broken, the tariff is an issue, the way the privatization was done is an issue to many.

“So, there are many issues. What we have agreed on is that there is a fundamental problem in the electronic supply industry. And that you cannot privatize an industry and then over three years since privatization, you pump in N1.7 trillion of government fund into it, that is not privatization.

“The Federal Government has supported the electricity sector with N1.7 trillion in the last three years and this is not sustainable. So, solutions must be found.

“Today, there are 80 million Nigerians that do not have access to electricity. We cannot continue like this.

“We want to listen to Nigerians and get their own views and incorporate those views in every solution that we proposed.”

On the plan to leverage on pension funds to grow the nation’s key infrastructure, including power, the governor said the system is not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that it is about the best way to develop at a leap.

“On the question on pension funds, I think there is a bit of misunderstanding about this. First of all, it is not true that this money is people’s money. The people contribute and the government also matches their contributions, so it’s part government money, is part workers contribution.

“Every month when you contribute, there is also employer’s contribution. Secondly, you have to ask yourself the question, if this money is there what is the best use for the money.

BIG STORY

Royal Disgrace! Oluwo Of Iwo Beats Up Fellow Monarch In Public, Osun Oba’s Call For His Suspension

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Some monarchs in the Osun West Senatorial district have called for the suspension of the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, shortly after he beat up another traditional ruler, the Agbowu of Ogbagba, Oba Dhikrulahi Akinropo, during a peace meeting for monarchs in Iwo, Ayedire, and Ola-Oluwa Local Government Areas of the state.

The Oluwo, on Friday, dealt a blow on the Agbowu, whose domain falls under the Ola-Oluwa council area, claiming he interrupted him during his speech by calling him a mad man.

The peace meeting, which was convened at the instance of the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police, Zone 11 was meant to broker peace among the monarchs in the three council areas that had been enmeshed in a land tussle for more than three months.

While the Oluwo advocated for the leasehold of land, instead of outright sales for developmental projects in the area, the other monarchs insisted that their land belongs to them and they reserve the right to sell them or not.

The state government intervened at a stage but the latest intervention by the police through the office of the AIG Zone 11 suffered a twist when the Oluwo pounced on the Agbowu.

The incident was witnessed by the state’s Commissioner for Lands and Physical Planning, his counterpart, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, the AIG for Zone 11, and about seven monarchs, including the Onigege of Igege, the Olu of Ile-Ogbo.

Narrating the incident to journalists at the State Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo, where he was accompanied by six monarchs to receive medical treatment, the Agbowu said the Oluwo punched him for telling him that he did not sell any land in his domain but his own land.

The monarch was rushed to Asubiaro Hospital after the incident by other monarchs at the meeting. The monarchs at the hospital were the Onigege of Igege, Oba Kazeem Oyediran, Olu of Ileogbo, Oba Habeeb Adetoyese, Onifin of Ikonifin, Oba Solomon Ojo, Oluwo Oke of Iwo Oke, Oba Kadiri Adeoye and Onisara of Eesu, Oba Moshood Oparonla.

The Olu of Ileogbo, Oba Habeeb Adetoyese, who spoke on behalf of the monarchs, said, that they received an invite to a peacemaking meeting over an allegation that Oba Akanbi levelled against them.

He alleged that the Oluwo pounced on Oba Akinropo while he was making his speech at the peace meeting.

He said, “In October last year he wrote a petition against us to AIG Oyebade, that, we are threatening his life and we are selling his land. The AIG said he doesn’t want any issue in our regions, that we should solve it amicably among ourselves. The governor also gave us the same advice when we saw him on the matter

”The first peacemaking meeting that was organized for us at Iwo Local Government Secretariat, Oluwo disrupted the meeting, he came with thugs saying everybody should go to his domain.”

He said when the government realised that the meeting did not work, they organized another meeting. He said, ”Letter was sent to us for the invite and we all went for the program…when he (Oluwo) was talking, he alleged that, I, the monarch of Ile-Ogbo, was selling his lands and that, also, the Agbowo of Ogbaa Gbaa, the Onigege of Gege is also selling his land. I am selling only selling Ile Ogbo’s land and not Iwo land.

”In the meeting held the commissioner said if it is land he can’t intervene on any issue pertaining to land. He advised that the court can decide on that or that we meet the governor to sort things out.

”As the AIG was addressing us, the Oluwo started shouting that chaos and war will happen in the community. He stood up and started beating Agbowu. He beat him to the extent that it was the AIG that rescued the king from Oluwo. We are still in shock for a king to behave in that manner. When the man started feeling dizzy, we had to rush him down to Asubiaro hospital. He sustained an injury on his cheeks.

“We implore the government to suspend him (Oluwo) so that we can have peace in our domain. We have called our subjects that there is no cause for violence but he should be checked. Only the governor can caution him and if that is not done, he will destroy the entire region.”

Also, Babajide Siyanbola who is the legal adviser to Agbowo of Ogbaagbaa, said legal action will be taken on the matter.

Reacting to the allegation, the Oluwo in a statement, said that he was truly invited to make peace on his stance to curtail excessive land sales by monarchs under his domain, a pronouncement that did not go down well with those affected as they regrouped to act against his authority as the Oluwo who gave them the crown.

He said, “At the peace meeting held at AIG office, Agbowu of Ogbaagbaa interrupted me while making I am making my speech and started calling me unprintable names, pointing his staff of office at me while attempt to stick the staff in my eyes; I heavily rejected it with a force which the Agbowu could not withstand.

”How could a constable openly insult commissioner of police and make an attempt to beat the CP? Can any monarch try such with Ooni, Alaafin?” he said.

The Nation

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BIG STORY

JUST IN: Uber Passenger Jumps Into Lagos Lagoon

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A yet-to-be-identified man on Saturday jumped into the Lagoon around the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State.

It was learnt that the man had boarded a car-hailing service, Uber, from Gbagada to a destination in the state.

While the driver was commuting him to his destination, the passenger told the driver to park on the Third Mainland Bridge because he had a stomach ache.

After parking, the yet-to-be-identified man disembarked from the vehicle and jumped into the ocean around 11am.

The Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, Nosa Okunbor, confirmed the incident, saying that rescue operation was ongoing.

He said, “The guy boarded Uber from Gbagada and when they got to the Third Mainland Bridge, he told the driver that he had stomach upset and that he needed to relieve himself. So when the driver parked, he got down from the vehicle, abandoned his belongings and jumped into the water.

“The incident happened around 11 am and our team has responded but I can’t confirm if he would be rescued alive or dead.”

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BREAKING: 24-Hours To Swearing-In, Supreme Court Nullifies Bayelsa Gov-Elect, Lyon’s Election, Declares PDP Winner

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The Supreme Court has nullified the election of Bayelsa State governor-elect, David Lyon and his running mate Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.

Chief David Lyon was to be sworn-in on Friday.

In preparation for the inauguration, the PDP flag was on Thursday morning removed from the Bayelsa Government House.

The five-man panel of Supreme Court headed by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the All Progressives Congress’ candidates as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.

The apex court ordered INEC to issue fresh certificates to the candidates of the party with the next highest votes and required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election, which are the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates.

Justice Ejembi Ekwo, who read the lead judgment of the apex, made the orders after disqualifying the APC’s deputy governorship candidate, Degi-Eremienyo, as a candidate in the election.

Details shortly…

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