TMG to Buhari: beam searchlight on PHCN, other privatized national assets

FROM LEFT: PROJECT MANAGER, TRANSITION MONITORING GROUP (TMG), MR LAZARUS APIR, TMG CHAIRMAN, MR IBRAHIM ZIKIRULLAHI AND THE VICE CHAIRMAN, HAJIA LIMOTA GOROSO, AT A NEWS CONFERENCE. PHOTO: NAN

FROM LEFT: PROJECT MANAGER, TRANSITION MONITORING GROUP (TMG), MR LAZARUS APIR, TMG CHAIRMAN, MR IBRAHIM ZIKIRULLAHI AND THE VICE CHAIRMAN, HAJIA LIMOTA GOROSO, AT A NEWS CONFERENCE. PHOTO: NAN

A civil rights organisation, Transition Monitoring Group, on Thursday called on the President-Elect, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to thoroughly probe the privatization of all the national assets by the Peoples Democratic Party-led government in Nigeria.

In doing so, TMG said the incoming administration should pay particular interest in the defunct National Electric Power Authority (which transformed to Power Holding Company of Nigeria), an agency, it said, “has become synonymous with corruption in Nigeria”.

The Chairman of TMG, Mr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, who made the call at a press briefing in Abuja, said the group was also planning to “closely monitor governance processes and outcomes, using some structures and methodology to ensure that government fulfills its electoral promises to all Nigerians”.

While calling on Mr. Buhari to follow up on his promises by declaring a full scale war on corruption, TMG said it preferred that the anti-corruption agencies be strengthened and made independent to prosecute the war.

It further called on him to bolster the anti-corruption agencies such as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by injecting fresh and radical minds, and giving it financial and ‘prosecutorial’ autonomy”.

Zikirullahi said, “We call for the investigation of all the privatisation of our national assets by the PDP government, particularly the sale of NEPA. Indeed, this is one agency that has become synonymous with corruption in Nigeria. We also call for a comprehensive probe of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, which has over the years degenerated into stinking cesspit of official corruption.

“For us, the so called privatization of the (power) sector has ended in nothing but unmitigated disaster. It is fraudulent that an extensive privatization exercise failed to produce a reliable due diligence report proficient enough to identify and proffer solutions to the technical challenges that have dogged the sector.

“We wonder why a process that claims to have observed due diligence would result in the granting of loans to the Distribution Companies to pay for assets they were supposed to have been financially capable of acquiring in the first place.

“To spotlight the specious nature of these transactions, besides granting the DISCOs cheap interest loans not opened to other players in critical sectors, Nigerians are equally forced to pay the DISCO through monthly standing charges, not minding the erratic nature of electricity supply.

“This monumental rip-off of the Nigerian and the nation’s commonwealth has been the hallmark of the so called privatization. The President-elect will serve our nation’s interest well by revisiting the heist in the power sector that goes by the name privatization”.

Speaking on the lean cabinet being proposed by Mr. Buhari, Zikirullahi said, “we are also happy about feelers from the President Elect’s camp that he will run a trim and lean government. As we have argued over the years, the bogus and unwieldy nature of government has robbed Nigerians of precious resources that would have gone into critical sectors like health, education, and revamping the power sector”.

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