Senate President, Ahmad Lawan says the country has been severally shortchanged through deals in the power sector.
Speaking on Monday, when the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Joseph Chiedu Ugbo, led a delegation on a visit to the National Assembly, Abuja, Lawan said the Senate and House Committees through the instrument of oversight will ensure the prudent application of all funds channelled to the power sector.
In a statement by his Special Assistant, Press, Ezrel Tabiowo, Lawan said that the Federal Government had severally been shortchanged in agreements entered into with generating and distribution companies in the past.
“One of the challenges Nigeria is faced with today and for a very long time in the area of development is power. Until we are able to fix the power situation, development will continue to be difficult to achieve.
“This is one area we will continue to give priority to ensure we are able to meet the targets. It’s not going to be easy, but the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has shown clear determination in ensuring we get power fixed.
“The power sector has been surrounded with controversies for a long time. When the NIPP started, so many things were said; some of which are true.
“Expenditures were made in the past, and we did not see commensurate results from the expenditures. It is something to worry about.
“Some persons also have the tendencies to sign agreements that sometimes are clearly against the national interest. Time has come for people to stop doing this.
“In most cases, the Federal Government was shortchanged in some of the agreements signed by the people. I really don’t know what they were thinking.
“We need to be very careful. Time will come when people will be held responsible for their actions.
“Billions of dollars will just disappear like that, and there still won’t be power. This National Assembly will not close its eyes or not take any action if our nation is shortchanged.
“We are very concerned about what is happening in the power sector because personally we have not realised the best deal at all.
“In most cases, the deals were against the national interest, against the people and against the country.
“What we have are a few companies that are milking this country dry. I think we must insist on getting value for money.
“The kind of money sunk into the power sector will not only provide light for Nigeria but also the neighbouring countries.
“The Senate and House Committees on Power will look to see how we can make a difference this time around because we intend to monitor closely any money put in the budget. We want to see such money prudently applied,” Lawan said.
Senate Committee Screens Yakubu For INEC Chair Today
The Chairman of the committee, Kabiru Gaya, disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday after the panel submitted the report of the 2021 budget estimates of the commission to the Senate Committee on Appropriation.
The Senate received President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter seeking Yakubu’s confirmation on Tuesday.
He had on October 27 announced his decision to reappoint the former INEC boss.
The president’s letter was forwarded to the committee on INEC for screening which Senator Gaya said will be carried out expeditiously.
“Precisely the re-nominated Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu is to face our committee by 2:00 pm for the required drilling, the outcome of which will determine the report to be submitted to the Senate on Tuesday,” he said.
No Plan To Review 2021 Spending Estimates: Minister
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has expressed that there is no plan to review the spending estimates of the 2021 budget.
She has also allayed the fears of federal civil servants that the country’s entering into recession might stall the salary payments of workers.
She made this known while speaking with journalists after the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the State House.
Ahmed said even the consequential adjustment in the 2020 budget wholly addressed salary matters.
Recall that the proposed 2021 budget is currently being reviewed by members of the National Assembly.
“On the 2021 budget, we are not planning to retrieve the budget or to reverse the budget beyond the work of appropriation that the National Assembly is currently doing in consultation with us,” she said.
#EndSARS: UK Parliament Does Not Speak For British Govt – FG
The federal government of Nigeria has stated that it has reached out to the United Kingdom to explain its side of the story over the #EndSARS crisis.
This follows a petition being considered by the United Kingdom to sanction officials of the Nigerian government over alleged human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests in the country.
However, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, explained to State House Correspondents on Wednesday that Nigeria has reached out to the UK govt.
He explained that FG has presented its own side of the story to the UK govt to aid its deliberations on the matter.
This he stated after the weekly federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that a balanced view is important in such matters.
He said: “Yes, we have reached out to the UK government. The meeting that took place were Parliamentarians and they do not speak for the UK government which acts for the United Kingdom and they have also heard the side of the (Nigerian) government regarding everything that has happened.
“So, we have been in touch with them and engaging with them. Of course, as in any democracy, the members of parliament are able to also able to air their views.
“But what is important, is that a balanced picture is made available to them before they take any decision.”
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