The Senate yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to immediately reconnect Maiduguri to the national grid.
The Senate also urged the Federal Government to complete the Mambilla Power Project to improve electricity supply in the country.
It condemned the inability of TCN to provide continuous and uninterrupted power supply to every part of the country.
The call followed a motion entitled ‘’Disconnection of Maiduguri from the National Grid and General Power Degeneration in Nigeria’’ presented by the Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume.
Ndume said that Maiduguri and environs had been completely disconnected since the emergence of insurgency in the area.
He complained that the situation had grounded economic activities in the state, saying “I buy diesel to run my generator set and that costs me N10, 000 per day.
“No country can be said to be near development when there is no power. This Senate needs to investigate to give support to the government.
“For years now a lot of money has been spent but there is nothing to show for it,’’ he said.
Supporting the motion, Sen. Danjuma Goje (APC- Gombe Central) said it was apt in view of hardship which lack of power supply had caused Nigerians.
“The problem of power was on before 1999 and I am surprised that up till today, the power sector is grappling with insufficient supply.
“This motion is apt because there is a need to find out what happened in spite of the unbundling and huge amount so far spent,’’ he said.
Contributing, Sen. Godswill Akpabio (PDP-Akwa Ibom North-West), lamented that many companies had shut down due to irregular power supply in the country.
He regretted that in spite of the financial contribution by some states in the South to improve power supply, Nigerians were still grappling the problem.
“In 2015 we are celebrating 4000 mega watts; for me, this is worrisome.
“ We cannot have employment without power and Nigerians are complaining about the high cost and some localities which have not seen light for months are asked to pay high tariff,’’ he said.
Akpabio, therefore, urged the senate to do all within its power to assist the Federal Government in bringing an end to the problem.
In a unanimous adoption of the motion, the lawmakers expressed concern that Nigeria with a population of over 150 million people produced only 4, 600 megawatts of electricity.
They said that the situation in the country was in contrast with South Africa, which with population of about 40 million people produced 40,000 megawatts.
They observed that disconnection from the national grid and low generation of power supply across the country had affected economic activities, including collapse of many industries.
They added that it was disheartening that South Korea with no fewer than 35 million people generated about 60,000 mega watts of electricity.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said that the inadequate power supply in the country was affecting economic growth.
He stressed that besides corruption, lack of power supply had plunged the country into further hardship.
“ We thought that with the Power Reform Act and unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), we will begin to see a relief with regard to power supply but unfortunately it is not so.
“The ad hoc committee we will set up should look at the activities of the DISCOS and what is preventing Nigerians from benefitting from the unbundling of the PHCN,’’ he said.
After the resolution, the senate constituted a 13-member ad hoc committee headed by Sen. Abubakar Kyari (APC-Borno North) to take a look at irregularities in the power sector.
The committee was mandated to carry out a holistic investigation into the management of funds appropriated to the power sector since 1999 and the unbundling of the TCN.
It was directed to conclude its assignment and submit report in two weeks.
FG Moves To Stop Influx Of Illegal Aliens
The Federal Government has promised to put measures in place to end the movement of illegal immigrants into the country to secure the country.
The government stated that the era where aliens easily enter the country with fake travel documents must stop.
The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, according to a statement on Saturday by the Director of Press of the Ministry, Afonja Ajibola, disclosed this when the Director, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dasuki Arabi visited him.
The statement read, “The Minister assured he is working seriously on efficient ways at securing Nigeria borders; saying a situation where illegal aliens easily find their ways into the country often with fake travel documents has to be stopped. In his view, Nigeria cannot be secured if its borders are not secured”.
The Minister also said the Ministry was ready to partner with the BPSR in proffering effective solutions to the nation’s security challenges, especially in securing the nation’s borders.
“I am ready to actively collaborate with the Bureau of Public Service Reforms to find solutions to our security challenges,” he was quoted as saying.
ECOWAS Condemns Plot To Obstruct Peace In Sierra Leone
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned the plot by some individuals to disturb peace in Sierra Leone.
The condemnation is contained in a statement issued by ECOWAS in Abuja, yesterday.
ECOWAS said, “The bloc has learnt, with utter disgust, a plot by certain individuals to aquire arms and disturb the peace and constitutional order in Sierra Leone.
“ECOWAS condemns this act and calls for the arrest and prosecution of everyone involved in the illegality.
“The bloc has always maintained its zero tolerance for unconstitutional change of government.
“We want to reaffirm our commitment to supporting the government and the people of Sierra Leone’s quest to deepen democracy and good governance by consolidating peace and security so as to foster socio-economic development”.
Earlier, the Sierra Leonean Government had declared a 24-hour nationwide curfew in a proactive step to ensure that the peace is not tampered with.
Bad Roads Fuelling Insecurity In N’East -Govs
Worried by the security challenges confronting the region, governors of the North East have resolved to embark on more collaborative efforts among member states to come up with a security architecture design for the region.
The governors noted that bad federal roads are fuelling insecurity in the region and called on the Federal Ministry of Works to follow through with road contracts awarded in the region.
This is contained in a communique issued at the end of the 9th meeting of the forum, held at the banquet hall of the Adamawa State Government House in Yola last Saturday.
According to a statement signed by the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, the forum said there was a need for a robust platform for regional economic development and resolved to work as an entity in strengthening the human capacity and socio-economic development of its people.
The communique read in part, “Forum is continuously disturbed about the poor infrastructural base of the region. More concerned that the federal roads within and between the states in the region have been neglected.
“We call on the Federal Ministry of Works to follow through with road contracts awarded in the region. The poor road network is fuelling insecurity stalling development and making life more difficult for our people in the region.
“Forum notes that the bad federal roads within and between the states are major setbacks to the infrastructural development of the region.
“Forum notes the poor energy situation in the region. To mitigate the situation, Forum resolved to work with Shanghai Electric to construct a 60 MW Coal Power Power Plant in each state of the region.
“Forum decried the lack of modern rail projects in the region and called for repairs on the old gauge rail lines which no longer useful and sustainable technology. Forum calls for inclusion of the region into the Nigerian National Railway Transport Plan using the Modern Guage rail.”
On climate change and environmental degradation, the forum resolved to strengthen its collaboration with all initiatives such as the Great Green Wall and the Global Initiative of Carbon Credit financing.
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