Port Harcourt — Electricity workers in the country under the auspices of Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, have backed the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on his revocation of the sale of the state-owned power infrastructures, hitherto sold to Sahara Energy.
Recall that the Rivers State Government recently said it had terminated the sale of 70percent equity of the state-owned power generation assets held by First Independent Power Limited in Omoku, Afam, Trans-Amadi and Eleme Gas Turbines to NG Power-HPS Limited.
Governor Wike had said that the gas turbines and power stations built by former Governor Peter Odili, were sold to Sahara Energy, an alleged business partners of former governor Chibuike Amaechi, at the sum of $319million.
Wike while asking the former Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, to account for the $319million being proceeds from the sale of the state-owned assets, had alleged that the money was used in sponsoring the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 general elections.
But the Rivers State Organising Secretary of NUEE, Mr. Innocent LordDouglas, said the union was fully in support of Governor Wike to revoke the sale of the power infrastructure, so as to improve power supply in the state.
LordDouglas, speaking exclusively to our correspondent, however, appealed to the governor Wike not to politicised the issue, but that the gas turbines and the power plants should be taken back for the benefit of Rivers people.
He explained that if the country can get the power sector right, every other sector in the country will be right while wondering why the gas turbines were sold to a private firm in the first instance.
“Last year, the governor said he was going to recover the power infrastructures in the state that were illegally acquired by Sahara Energy. Do you know that when those infrastructures were owned by the state government, the power situation in the state was improved.
“Even when NEPA was not supplying, most areas in Port Harcourt had power supply because of these state-owned power plants, just like it is obtainable in Akwa Ibom State.
“So why would ours be sold without any benefit to the state? We are begging the governor to go ahead and recover those power infrastructure from Sahara Energy so that Rivers State will have more power supply.
“So that we will not be so worried about what the Federal Government is doing with the power sector.”
Asked if power was no longer under the Federal Government’s exclusive list, NUEE said state governments have the power to generate and distribute power within the state, and also send to the national grid.
“During former Governor Peter Odili administration, there was a sanction that power generated within the state should not be taken out of the state.
“There was a joint sector on power between the Rivers State Government and the power distribution company as at that time, and Rivers State had some percentage of revenue from every power being generated from her plants, and I think the same thing is currently being done in Akwa Ibom State.
“We believed that every amount of power generated in the state should be distributed within the state,” NUEE said.