A civil society group, Centre for Health Equity and Justice (CEHEJ), has urged the Federal Government to investigate and prosecute individuals and contractors found culpable in involvement in shoddy deals that have continued to put Nigerians in darkness.
The group made the call at its presentation of a 70-page report titled “Kept in Darkness- Holding Non-Performing Electricity Contractors Accountable” which was unveiled in Lagos on Thursday.
Dr Yemi Oke, Associate Professor of Energy and Electricity Law, University of Lagos, while presenting the report, said corruption was largely responsible for the poor state of the power sector in Nigeria.
He said that over N11 trillion was spent on electricity in Nigeria without a corresponding result or value for money between 2005 and 2016.
Oke said: “within the last decades, over N11 trillion has been spent on electricity in Nigeria without a corresponding result or value for money.
“Efforts aimed to either trace the money or bring perpetrators to book have so far yielded no positive results.
“The country’s electricity landscape is replete with pseudo-electricity contractors, both local and foreign without any reputational records.
“They seem to have seized the opportunity of corruption in the system to win contracts that never got executed or executed poorly.’’
He said at 126kWh per capita, Nigeria lags far behind other developing nations in terms of grid-based electricity consumption.
According to him, Ghana’s per capita consumption (361kWh) is 2.9 times higher than that of Nigeria, and South Africa’s (3,926kWh) is 31 times higher.
He said that the country’s electrification rate at 45 per cent was very low when compared with Ghana (72 per cent) and South Africa (85 per cent).
Oke said unfortunately, the report discovered that the huge funds expended failed to yield the desired results as most households and industries rely on privately-owned generators for much of their power.
He, therefore, urged the government to investigate and prosecute individuals and contractors who had gotten involved in shoddy deals and contributed to the poor situation in which the country had found itself.
“Government must ensure that due process and transparency are strengthened in all appropriate quarters where decisions are taken on licensing, subsidy, power-purchase-agreements, contracts, operational equipment procurements and metering etc.
“Government must ensure Independent Regulatory Regime in the power sector to bring about the creation of an effective regulatory regime that is independent of the government,’’ Oke said.
Also speaking, Mr Sunday Oduntan, Chairman, Association of Electricity Distributors (ANED), said out of the 11 Distribution Companies, only one had Foreign Direct Investment when they took off.
Oduntan said lack of funds had impeded the DisCos from performing optimally, as they were heavily indebted to Nigerian banks.
He said that the power supplied by the Gencos to the the DisCos was another issue, as Nigeria currently generates less than 5,000 megawatts compared to South Africa which generates 49,000 megawatts.
On his part, Mr Ahmed Abdu, Director of Procurement, Federal Ministry of Power, who represented the Minister, Mr Saleh Mamman, commended CEHEJ for their contribution to nation building.
Abdu said the minister would examine the recommendations made in the report and advise the government as appropriate.
Earlier, Mr Timothy Adewale, Executive Director, CEHEJ, said Nigerians should demand accountability from their leaders.
He said that the report was aimed at finding solutions to the problems bedevilling the power sector.