Reacting to the recent comments by the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola SAN where he claimed Nigerians are currently better off in the access to electricity supply as against what was obtainable before, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has called the Minister’s bluff.
Fashola had in his latest media briefing about the achievements of his Ministry, claimed that Nigerians now heave a sigh of relief in their experience with electricity supply within the country since his appointment over three years ago.
According to the erstwhile governor, ‘“Our policies have shown what is possible with critical sectors recording growth. What remains is time that it takes for the full harvest of the fruits of our policies in plenitude and prosperity of our people”.
He asserted that generation, which was at 4,000 MW when he took over in the Ministry in 2015 has increased to 7,000 MW and transmission from 5,000 MW in 2015 to 7,000 MW while distribution has increased from 2,690 MW to 5,222 MW adding that although the work was clearly not finished, the Ministry was still in the process of delivering additional power to the grid.
The report adds that the additional 215MW would come from the Kaduna Power Plant while 240MW would come from Afam IV, 40 MW from Kashimbila, 30 MW from Gurara, 29 MW from Dadin Kowa and a total of 3,750 MW from two big Hydro power plants in Zungeru (700MW) and Mambilla (3,050MW) while power is also programmed for nine universities and 15 markets across the country.
However, CACOL insists that while all this may seem very promising prospects, the reality facing majority of Nigerians is that many electricity consumers in Lagos and other states are being made to pay for the power they never enjoyed through ‘estimated billings’.
Even where they were privileged to have acquired the prepaid meters, they are, oftentimes, not functional and given outrageous bills without recourse to the meters. Whether the meters are functional or not, they don’t want to know. At the end of the month, they give estimated bills based on the information from the field officers while the people are made to cough out money for the power not enjoyed.
Whereas, some areas may be enjoying a flurry of power supply for reasons not completely far from prior arrangement or greasing of palm of electricity distribution officials, the strategic and widespread research conducted clearly shows that greater emphasis has been put on power generation far more than on transmission and distribution, thus laying much of what was generated in waste.
Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of CACOL posited that; “We could equally decipher the contradiction in Mr. Fashola’s claim of what was met on ground and successes recorded in his own analysis of general breakdown with the media. In same report, he claimed that the generation his administration met on ground was 4,000 megawatts which was increased to 7,000 megawatts while transmission was increased from 5, 000 megawatts to 7,000 megawatts within same period under review.
“Now, the question we should ask is how could transmission be 5,000 megawatts when all that was generated was simply 4,000 megawatts? This underscores our belief that the Honourable Minister was only being clever by half by using fictitious figures to further confuse Nigerians as against the reality of their day to day life experience.”
The anti-graft group averred that since Fashola, is such an “unrepentant advocate and believer in the power of privatization as a ‘solve it all panacea’ to Nigeria’s problems”, CACOL would hasten to add that no single reasonable and responsible government in the modern world privatize or sell hundred percent of its power sector, to achieve its desired goal of electricity for its teeming population.
“Not even any country in Europe and he would do well to study the Asian Tigers’ template to electricity generation, transmission and distribution with China generating, transmitting and distributing over 200,000 megawatts and Egypt where the telecommunications giant, Siemens, reportedly generated over 14.4 gigawatts of electricity in just two years without necessarily selling its vital patrimony to friends, fronts and cronies,” CACOL said.