Oscarline Onwuemenyi 17 July 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – FORMER Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has slammed the epileptic nature of power supply in Nigeria in spite of the billions of naira spent over the past 12 years.
Speaking in an interview with journalists at the background of a special lecture session organised by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in Abuja, he noted that Nigerians look up to the regulatory agency to create an efficient and competitive system that will make the industry thrive.
He said it was shameful that after so many years, Nigeria could not boast of reliable and effective electricity. He said: “It is a failure and a shame that something as simple as electricity, we cannot provide for Nigerians, in spite of billions of dollars earned from oil every year.”
“Poor electricity supply is behind most of the problems we are facing as a country, it has direct relationship with the poor state of the economy, rising cost of living and our inability to produce the things we need as a country,” Ribadu added.
According to him, most developed and developing countries have long solved the problem of electricity generation, even as he stressed that effective and reliable power industry is at the heart of every economic growth index.
He noted that the state of the nation’s power supply over the years has been “embarrassing, almost humiliating, considering that many countries in Africa with even less resources have done better.
It is a shame to observe that Egypt, in spite of all their challenges in the past few years, still generates over 70,000MW of power, and South Africa generates more than 40,000MW of electricity, while Nigeria still struggles to produce a mere 4,000MW of power, he said.
Ribadu asserted that “If NERC gets it right with regards to the reform and regulation in the power sector, Nigeria will it right on electricity. Today, NERC is at the forefront of the march to reform the power sector, and a lot of Nigerians are looking up to them to deliver, and with the caliber of people I see here and the structures they have put in place, I have every confidence that we may finally be on the path to true electricity sector reform.”
Ribadu, who currently chairs the Special Petroleum Revenue Task Force of the Federal government, also argued that the failure of the regulatory agencies to perform their tasks is to blame for the fuel subsidy mess the country is currently embroiled in.
According to him, “The regulatory agencies in the sector are directly responsible, because it is government money. When such money goes out it has to go through somebody, who is a government employee that has responsibility to protect it and make sure that we get value for every dime spent. It must be with his own conspiracy that money goes out for products or services not provided.
“Therefore, one can easily come to the conclusion that it is a failure of the regulators and those with that responsibility, and we would like to see justice done for those who allowed the nation’s money to go out in that manner.”