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Nigerian ICPC uncovers government contract scam


SupplyManagement

20 December 2013 | Gurjit Degun

At least 156 companies have forged tax certificates to bid for government contracts in Nigeria, according to the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

It follows a preliminary investigation by the ICPC and trebles the number of firms initially suspected of fraudulent activity. Last month, the Bureau of Public Procurement reported 50 companies to the ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Folu Olamiti, spokesman for the ICPC, said: “Preliminary investigations indicate about 156 of these companies may face prosecution for using fake tax clearance certificates.”

The ICPC advised tax authorities to learn good practices from states that have tamper-proof tax certificates.

“They should create electronic platforms to synchronise with the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System and automate the issuance of tax clearance certificates annually to public service employees so as to reduce the incidence of illegally acquiring certificates from easier sources,” the commission said.

The ICPC has not revealed the names of firms involved.

Nigeria: States urged to adopt public procurement system to enhance transparency


Nigerian Tribune

by  Gbolahan SubairAbuja

April 11, 2013

THE Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has advised state governors to set up a public procurement system as a way of ensuring further transparency and accountability in government.

Director-General of the BPP, Mr Emeka Ezeh made this call while speaking at a high level interactive session with a delegation of the Lagos State public procurement agency at the state house office in Abuja.

Mr Ezeh praised Lagos State for their procurement reform initiative, adding, however, that the nation would benefit as a whole if more states joined Lagos, even as few other states that have already introduced the reform.

The BPP boss emphasised the fact that there was no alternative to ensuring accountability, transparency and value for money in the public expenditure and contractive process if national development is to be guaranteed.

According to him, due process is the cardinal focus in the implementation of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, and it is also a common mantra in the international economics system and development.

Mr Akin Onimole, the General Manager and CEO of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, who led the delegation on the familiarisation visit to the Bureau, emphasised the fact that the Bureau of Public Procurement has set a standard through its public procurement reform that should be emulated in all the states. He stated that the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency has, in the last few years, watched with keen interest the giant strides of the Bureau and as such is most willing to follow in the same path.

Nigeria Validates Manitoba’s Power-Mangement Contract


Bloomberg

By Elisha Bala-Gbogbo

Nov 21, 2012

Nigeria validated a power-management contract signed by Canada’s Manitoba Hydro Electric Board in July to run the state-owned power utility Transmission Co. of Nigeria after regulatory approval, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, the privatization agency, said.

“We have received ratification from the Bureau of Public Procurement and the contract has been certified,” Chukwuma Nwokoh, a spokesman for the Abuja-based privatization agency said by phone today. Under Nigerian laws, all contracts entered into by the government needs to be certified by the Bureau of Public Procurement.

Reuben Abati, a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, on Nov. 14 announced the cancellation of the contract saying the correct procedure wasn’t followed. Manitoba “did not follow the law strictly” and initial report of the termination was a “misunderstanding,” Jonathan said on Nov. 18 in an interview broadcast on state-rub television NTA

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is selling majority stakes in power plants and letting private investors buy as much as 60 percent of 11 distribution companies spun out of the former state-owned utility as it seeks private investment to curb power shortages. Blackouts are a daily occurrence in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 160 million people. Demand for electricity in Nigeria is almost double the supply of about 4,000 megawatts and the government plans to boost output to 14,019 megawatts by 2013.

Bids worth more than $2 billion by companies including Siemens AG (SIE) and Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEP) were approved by the government for the sale of the companies on Oct. 30.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja atebalagbogbo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net

 

Nigeria: Subsidy Fraud Incorporated – Fresh Scandal Surrounds FG’s Committee


AllAfrica

Parliamentarians involved in subsidy scam.

By Jide Ajani

July 22, 2012

ANALYSIS

This will shock you. It is the report of Sunday Vanguard’s painstaking investigation with sources inside Aso Rock Presidential Villa, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, the Petroleum Equalization Fund, PSF, and the Petroleum Support Fund, PSF, just to mention a few.

It is about the serial complicity of some operators in the oil industry, government agencies and high ranking government officials in a mélange of corrupt practices occasioned by cover ups, deception and deliberate misinformation to unsuspecting members of the Nigerian public. It is a story of conflict of interest regarding those investigating and verifying the claims of marketers, a story of filth and willful negligence fueled by insatiable greed.

It was an innocent memo; but panic oozed from it.

The genesis of what has today become the fraud in the management of subsidy funds all started with a directive from the Federal Government of Nigeria. Although the House of Representatives Committee which investigated the management of subsidy on petrol presented its report which has become mired in scandalous controversy, occasioned by a bribery saga, the several committees set up by the federal government may not be about to get to the root of the matter by calling a spade a spade – there is the Nuhu Ribadu committee set up by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; there was the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede committee; and now there is another committee which just submitted its report penultimate weekend, headed again by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

Switching into a panic mode, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led government of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, sensing that long queues at the petrol stations across the country represents a clear and present national security challenge, sent a memo to the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPRA. This was in October, 2008.

Dated October 20, 2008, the memo, signed on behalf of the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, from the Presidency came through the SGF’s (PARASTATALS DEPARTMENT, GENERAL SERVICES).

The reference: SGF. 19/S.53/II/

The title of the memo: “RE: OUTCOME OF THE STAKEHOLDERS MEETING ON IMPORT PLAN FOR 4TH QUARTER, 2008/REVIEW OF PSF IMPLEMENTATION”.

“I am directed to refer to your letter Ref. No. A.1/1/228/C.7/III/468 of 16th October, 2008”, the content of the letter reads, “on the outcome of the stakeholders meeting of 14th October, 2008 to harmonize import plan for November and December, 2008 and to convey the approval of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for:

“1) The import plan for November – December, 2008 as harmonized with the marketers during the stakeholders meeting and as recommended; and

“2) The participation of the recommended companies with storage facilities or valid throughout agreement that have completed the necessary due diligence processes to import the products in order to sustain adequate supply in the system.

“I am to further inform you that you are required to submit a report on the performance of the participating companies to this Office at the completion of the import exercise.

“Please accept the warm regards of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation”.

What had happened just before that memo was that the PPPRA had recommended that there was need for an expansion of the frontiers of fuel importation into the country and had, therefore, requested an approval from the Presidency.

Whereas possession of storage facilities was an earlier condition precedent, the need to include importers who had valid throughout agreement, with a view to making the product more available became inevitable.

In fact, some of the marketers who preferred to speak on conditions of anonymity made it clear that most of the “so called major marketers were actually in agreement with other lesser known importers who took the risk of financing and importation of petroleum products”. But this was to open the floodgate.

HOW SUBSIDY FRAUD IS COMMITTED

One of the major points where the fraud is committed is the Atlas Cove Jetty, Apapa, Lagos, which is Nigeria’s major delivery and re-distribution point for refined petroleum products. The second, strategic, point is represented by the plethora of depots in Lagos.

Atlas Cove, first built in 1979, and rebuilt by Julius Berger in 2000, is owned and managed by the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as a storage farm/facility that channels refined products through System 2B pipelines that runs through Ejigbo (a suburb in Lagos). These pipelines supply petroleum products to the entire Western region of Nigeria, Kwara and Edo States. Depots served by the Atlas Cove Jetty include Mosimi, Ore, Ibadan and Shagamu. The Atlas Cove Jetty is also used to off-load coastal vessels as well as pump petroleum products to the Atlas Cove Depot for storage.

This command center for refined petroleum products is administered from Abuja by the PPMC, a subsidiary of the government owned NNPC.

A very dependable source at Atlas Cove told Sunday Vanguard that the country had always been held hostage by the petrol import cabal in connivance with the government that claims to be serving and protecting Nigerians.

A source said what has been in place at Atlas Cove can best be described as “round-tripping, as some of the marketers with allocation for importation are involved in the scheme.

According to the source, “they bring in a particular amount of refined product, declare the product on arrival to the relevant government agencies’ staff (DPR, PPPRA, Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF) and after these officials have okayed the product quantity in preparation for subsidy application, about half of the product originally meant for domestic consumption would then be diverted to other neighbouring West African states”.

In the case of private depot owners, “some of them doctor the figures they submit with a view to making undeserving claims. The quantity of products discharged some times does not tally with the inflated figures that are recorded.

It is one big, very big conspiracy. The importers are involved; the depot owners are involved; the people who are supposed to verify the claims are also involved. People collect subsidy for what they did not import. That is why the figures and claims keep going up. Those involved know themselves; and those to whom they make returns also know themselves. It is for government to dig deep and find these people out”, the source concluded.

Had it been limited to these categories of people alone, the corruption associated with the subsidy funds may not have assumed the humongous nature it assumed. But there were all manner of petty crooks in the toga of government officials and importers as well as depot owners who doctored records.

For instance, those with “valid throughout agreement that have completed the necessary due diligence processes to import the products” also connive with depot owners to make illegitimate claims.

CAUSE OF PANIC BY FG

Back to the FG’s memo of 2008! Before the memo, there was beginning to appear at gas stations across the country long vehicular queues. The PPPRA, Sunday Vanguard has been made to understand, designed a seemingly “more flexible import plan” which accommodated a few more companies.

There was need for the federal government to approve the arrangement made by PPPRA. That was the message conveyed by the letter from the Office of the SGF.

But it was not a magna charta for PPPRA to enthrone a regime of recklessness.

However, what was to follow was to create its own muddle.

On January 21, 2009, the federal government decided to reduce the pump head price of petrol.

The consequence of that was the creation of even longer queues.

Importers and marketers began to complain and there was need for the federal government to address their concerns.

Therefore, through the PPPRA, the FG summoned a ‘Technical Committee’ meeting of stakeholders. The meeting was held on Thursday, January 29, 2009.

A source in the Office of the SGF made Sunday Vanguard understand that the meeting needed to be called because “the government of the day was beginning to feel that there might be sabotage because of the growing shortage of petroleum products”.

At the meeting that day, there were representatives of NUPENG, PPMC, MOMAN, DPR, PENGASSAN, Ministry of Petroleum, IPMAN, TUC, CBN, DAPPMA, and a host of other stakeholders. It was at that meeting that marketers complained of the removal of standard deviation from the PPPRA Template.

After the meeting which lasted hours, resolutions were reached.

A copy of the resolution obtained by Sunday Vanguard reads: “On the issue of exchange rate, it was agreed that the CBN Marginal Rate plus 1% CBN commission and 1% bank charges should be added in the Template.

“Members agreed that the Freight Rate based on the 2009 World Scale will be considered

“For the financing cost element, it was agreed that the PPPRA should confirm bank interest rates and other charges that make up the cost and come up with a submission.

“Members agreed that the PPPRA should adopt the weighted average of Port Charges (NPA), on the Pricing template.

“Members agreed that the PPPRA should update the Pricing template with the reviewed parameters, and present same to the next meeting for consideration.

“The meeting advised that recommendation should be made on the need to dialogue with the NPA with a view to reducing their charges.

“In addition, the PPPRA may also seek intervention in the FOREX by exploring the possibility of a special window for an exchange rate for the wet products that capture a reasonable rate that guarantees predictable products importation”.

The resolutions of this meeting were conveyed to the federal government in a letter with reference number A3/9/118/C.7/T/84, on February 5, 2009.

However, typical of government activities in Nigeria, there was no immediate response.

This was at a time when the federal government brought down the price of petrol from N70 to N65. This led to serious shortages and queues were once again back at the filling stations.

Sunday Vanguard was informed by an industry source that the PPPRA “was instructed by the Office of the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources to immediately address the Marketers complaints with a view to eliminating long queues at the filling stations”.

It was in addressing that challenge that some smart Nigerians, made up of bankers and government officials, along with importers began to make the kill, as disclosed above.

COMMITTEES APLENTY AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The probe into the shady deals was first instituted by the Senate under the chairmanship of Senator Magnus Abe. Then came the drama of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Subsidy Management, with Hon. Lawan Farouk as chairman. The Senate Committee is yet to conclude its work. But the Farouk Committee which concluded its work has been entrapped by s bribery scandal involving a member of President Jonathan’s Economic Management Team, EMT, Femi Otedola of Zenon Oil and Gas,

Sunday Vanguard was informed last week in Abuja that the banks were also part of the problem, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Of particular interest is one of the banks whose Chief Executive is involved in some form of remedial activities being engaged by the FG.

Pouring through tones of documentary evidence, Sunday Vanguard was exposed to a verity of LETTERS OF CREDIT ostensibly opened for the transaction of fuel importation.

And whereas it could not be established during this investigation that the banks were directly involved in any form of “sharp practices”, according to a source, “the status of the committees chaired by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede of Access Bank can not escape the tar of conflict of interest”.

Whereas there was documentary evidence to prove that, like most other banks, Access Bank was involved in the financing of businesses conducted pursuant to importing petrol, the choice of Aig- Imoukhuede as the chairman of two committees involved in the verification of claims regarding subsidy does not in any way present the FG as conducting its investigations in an unbiased manner.

Firstly, some marketers and industry sources disclosed to Sunday Vanguard that “conducting a verification exercise the way the first committee set up by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister and co-ordinating minister for the administration’s EMT did, revealing that over N400billion should be refunded to the government, a sum which the committee said constituted wrongful payments, how would anyone explain the fact that the chairman of the committee also runs a bank that was involved in the business of financing importation of petrol?

“It was because some importers raised an alarm about the unfairness of the first committee by not allowing them to come forward and defend themselves that made Mr. President to set up another committee but again with the same individual as its chairman. This is not about the person of Aig- Imoukhuede but, in coming to equity, there is need to come with clean hands. It does more harm than good to the FG to appoint the chief executive of a participating bank to verify subsidy claims. Some of us know what Aig-Imoukhuede represents but it is not even in his interest to chair such a committee. Nigerians are watching and the insinuation is already there that all these is about man-know-man”, the source said.

Reminded that some of those who benefited from the subsidy wrongly are being prepared for prosecution, the source, who is one of the major importers, maintained, “Who does not know what will happen at the end of the day? Some of those that would be arraigned would be the ones who are not connected. Yes, some people would be prosecuted but the real issue here is the role of conflict of interest.”

When you add up the Senator Abe Committee, the Farouk Committee, the Ribadu Committee, the first Imoukhuede Committee and the second Imoukhuede Committee, the question to ask is, where would all these lead?

In addition, the role of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is gradually coming to light as inside sources say the commission is about to break loose.

HOW NOT TO TRACK SUBSIDY ROUGUES

Yet, investigations have revealed that there is a very simple (even simplistic) approach to tracking the subsidy thieves.

A very dependable source inside Aso Rock Presidential Villa disclosed to Sunday Vanguard that on December 24, 2010, a near scandal almost broke out when the PPPRA issued a “Request for a notarized Letter of undertaking on accuracy of petroleum products supply and evacuation records”.

The Presidency source disclosed that the move to ensure that all petroleum products importers and depot owners sign an undertaking of performance was first rebuffed.

“It was an attempt at ensuring that depot owners and importers do not engage in what has now become the sharing of the subsidy loot. When we got hint of the move, it was seen as a welcome development by some but again, there was need to ensure that a dislocation is not created in the supply chain for the availability of products as this was coming close to an election period”, the source said.

Even at that, Sunday Vanguard was able to discover that all the importers and depot owners were made to sign the undertaking that they would be straightforward in their dealings.

In fact, the undertaking that was signed by the importers and marketers also had penalties which, apart from leading to prosecution, also has the stringency of forfeiture of depots in the event that records are not accurate. Now, the PPPRA introduced a checklist.

Nigeria: FG, Oil Firm to Establish Two Refineries Worth U.S.$4.5 Billion


AllAfrica

By YEMI AKINSUYI,

July 9th, 2012

The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Petroleum Refining and Strategic Reserve Limited (PRSR), a renowned America-Nigeria joint venture, for the construction of $4.5 billion two modular refineries in the country.

Each of the refineries, expected to be completed and launched within 12 to 13 months, would refine between 30,000 and 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, and produce five million litres of petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPFO per day.

Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga signed on behalf of the federal government while the chairman of PRSR, Chief Edozie Njoku, endorsed for the company at a brief ceremony held at the ministry’s conference room in Abuja.

In his remarks, Aganga said the new agreement was part of the government’s National Industrial Revolution Plan aimed at ending the exportation of raw materials and jobs from Nigeria to the West, while encouraging the transformation of the raw materials and exportation of finished goods, which add value to the economy.

Aganga said: “This is part of the paradigm shift we talk about. We have to stop exporting crude oil and therefore we need more refineries. With the signing of this deal, I am sure the two refineries which will cost about $4.5 billion will be launched in a year’s time”.

The minister, who reiterated the government’s determination to improve the business climate and make Nigeria the preferred investment hub in Africa and globally, informed that the firm had a history of performance and trusted track records; having delivered on bigger projects in Russia and other countries.

He assured the firm of government’s technical support needed to accomplish the task, saying that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was actively involved in the deal.

Aganga, while justifying private sector involvement in government’s transformation agenda, informed that the Eleme Petrochemicals was now 30 times more productive than when it was in the hands of government.

Also speaking, the Chairman of PRSR said the two refineries were part of a 30-month plan to construct six modular refineries in strategic places in Nigeria, pointing out that his firm would build simple refineries, “that will help tackle the problems of Nigeria as against the existing complex refineries.”

Njoku added that the six refineries, when completed, would have a combined capacity to refine 180,000 barrels of crude oil within the country and produce up to 30 million litres per day of refined oil products within 30 months.

The chairman said: “The refineries would be operated for the benefited of Nigerians by eliminating the current subsidy regime and significantly reducing the current market prices of kerosene and diesel by as much as 50 per cent”.

“During the construction timeline, over 10, 000 Nigerians will be employed and once operational, the six refineries will create over 150,000 direct and indirect jobs”, he added.

On the possibility of completing the pilot refineries on schedule, he explained that “modular refineries are comparatively easy to assemble in a relatively short time period”, adding that the company would produce.

Speaking in the same vein, the company’s technical partner, Graham Ford, described Nigeria as investment destination and expressed their readiness to partner the country to overcome its perennial crisis in the oil sector.

Nigeria: Jonathan orders screening of contractors


Vanguard

By Rotimi Ajayi

October 20, 2011

In a bid to reduce corruption and non-performing contracts in the Federal Civil Service, President Goodluck Jonathan  has ordered comprehensive screening of contractors and service providers for the Federal Government.

The directive was said to have been issued following a review meeting with some members of the National Economic Management Team after the recent retreat with members of the Organized Private Sectors where it was agreed that there was need to put sanity to awards of Federal Government contracts and jobs.

An indication towards the implementation of the Presidential directive was contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

The statement issued by the Director General of the Bureau, Emeka Ezeh, pointed out that arrangements had been concluded to commence registration, categorisation and classification of all Federal Government contractors, consultants and service providers.

The Director-General stated that the project would revolutionise government procurement process and encourage more transparency and efficiency in the procurement process.

According to him, the objective of the database is to register, classify and categorize contractors, consultants and service providers as a platform of verification by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), other entities, and interested organisations. It will also ensure that contractors, consultants and service providers of equal competencies and capabilities bid for specific jobs.

He added that the project would create an electronic interface with stakeholders and deepen the capacities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and their leaderships to attain full compliance with the provisions of the Act in order to positively transform the economy of Nigeria.

He said, “the usefulness of the Act in Government’s obvious responsibilities, particularly in implementing strategic and sustainable plans to develop infrastructural facilities cannot be overemphasized. This is not just to fulfil a basis responsibility of government but also in order to attain the proposed Vision 20:2020.

“The benefits of the procurement reform process importantly correlate with the present administration’s transformation agenda.  This agenda, as articulated by government seeks to vigorously implement the initiatives or programmes that will enhance the Administration’s strategic plans for Economic Growth.

“The ultimate objective of the Bureau is to ensure that all Federal procurements are strictly done in compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and that all ongoing projects are in line with sectoral targets and priorities. It is when viable ongoing projects are adequately funded, completed and commissioned that the populace will be the better for it.”

Nigeria: BPP saves N316bn from inflated contracts


Abuja City Gate
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Vanguard

October 17, 2011

By EMMA UJAH Abuja Bureau Chief

ABUJA – Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, has saved N316 billion from inflated contracts between January last year and last month, its Director-General , Engr, Emeka Eze, said, weekend.

In an interactive session with newsmen, in Abuja, he said: “Reviewing the many projects from the MDAs (Ministries, Agencies and Departments) ahead of possible award of Certificate of ‘No Objection’, we have often made significant reductions from the original proposals from the MDAs.

”In January 2010 to March 2011, financial year, for instance, N216 billion was saved from all projects reviewed in that fiscal year.  Between March 2011 and last September, close to N100 billion was also saved from reviews, while more of such savings will be made as this financial year progresses”.

He  said five per cent of elites were trying to frustrate the government procurement reform and that the rest mass of Nigerians must not allow that to happen.

“The elite is less than 5 per cent of the total population but controls 95 per cent of the nation’s resources”, he said, adding, “we are determined to making the public procurement reform work, in spite of the opposition by corrupt people.

He said some MDAs deliberately delay the commencement of procurement processes till the end of the year in other to stampede the system but vowed that his team would not allow them.

“As the year is about to end now, what you will hear is that BPP is delaying the implementation of the budget.  You will see MDAs advertising for contracts even in October.  It means they don’t want to implement such projects this year because we will ensure they follow due process.

The question is what have they being doing since the beginning of the year that they are now just advertising from jobs at this time.  We know their game.  It won’t work,” he vowed.

The Nigerian million march


Next

By Segun Balogun

September 11, 2011

Why this project at this time?

This project serves two purposes: to set the agenda for the new administration to the effect that lack of electricity in Nigeria will be first priority and nothing else. And to create a greater awareness that, the lack of electricity denies Nigerians of their fundamental basic necessities of life.

We want to drive this point home to the Nigerian leadership and as such, we are calling for a simultaneous peaceful Nigerian Million March set for October 24th, in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, London, and several locations in the USA; to express our discontent and to bring global attention to this problem and, with the hope of forcing and pressing our leaders to perform. We are also encouraging the citizens of Nigeria around the globe who are not fortunate to be physically present at any of the locations, to organise a march wherever they reside.

Many Nigerians have different sordid electricity tales to tell. You live in the US, so what sordid tale kick-started this project?

The date was Thursday February 3rd 2011. I read an article in a Nigerian newspaper titled “Government intensifies effort to generate power from nuclear sources.” I could not believe what I just read. As a nation we are not able to effectively manage a conventional power grid and, here we are “intensifying effort” at Nuclear power. This, to me, is a brazen “Bait and Switch” scheme, perpetrated to suction our money for the next 100 years.

I was livid, to say the least, and was madly upset after reading the article. Enough already. I slapped the dining table. This is another ploy of diverting attention from solving the pressing electricity crisis. We are about to embark on another white elephant project, a very dangerous one for that matter.

All Nigerians should be mad too. Nuclear power is no child’s play. In the United States, no community wants such a project in their neighbourhood. It’s called a “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard) in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan due to earthquake. The country is now planning to eventually phase out operation of nuclear plants. Germany is also planning a gradual phase out as well due to high risks involved in nuclear plant operations. It requires an astronomical technical capabilities and a world class maintenance culture. May I remind us of our maintenance culture? Zilch.

All things considered, the idea of Nuclear plant operation in Nigeria is a joke like many other projects such as the Ajaokuta project, the refineries. Nigerians, we need to wake up, and stop this nuclear train idea before, it leaves the station. Otherwise, we’ve got another giant sucking “black hole” scheme coming.

But federal government claims it is investing huge sums in the power sector, especially since the roll out of the power sector roadmap…

Of course, we at ‘Let there be light in Nigeria’ project group agree that huge sums of money were being poured into power sector. What is annoying is the excuse that government officials keep telling us such investments have “gestation period.” That’s the “Nigerian leader swagger talk” and it’s a code to cover up for business as usual, another contract fund embezzled.

Show us the project plans, the Scope, the Master Schedules, the Milestones, the Period of Performances, the deliverable dates on these contracts, rather than talking about “gestation” period.

There are thousands of contract that are several years past delivery due dates. Can someone show us a one mile radius in Nigeria today that has consistently sustained un-interrupted electricity supply, even after the huge sums of money that were poured unto the power sector?

It’s high time we expressed our major discontent against our leaders and press them very hard to start delivering on the electrification power contracts and to stop their wicked and cruel ways of continuously raking us over.

What exactly should Nigerians be demanding from government?

Transparency and accountability. At least, power issues do not fall under classified information. We want to know what happened to the funds expended on numerous contracts that had been awarded. Without this, we believe more investments will not necessarily solve the problem if, it keeps going the same route as the old investments.

We just want this electricity problem taken care of promptly and efficiently and we realise electricity is not a peculiar problem. There are plenty of solutions everywhere and around the globe to choose from…Read more.


UN-backed Cameroon-Nigeria border commission presses for swift resolution


24 July 2011 –

The United Nations-backed commission set up to help Cameroon and Nigeriaresolve their border dispute has called for swift agreement to resolve the remaining border areas that have not yet been fully demarcated.At a two-day meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, that wrapped up yesterday, the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission instructed its sub-commission on demarcation to find “effective and practical solutions? on the remaining 350-kilometre land border areas that include the skipped areas, areas of disagreement and inaccessible areas,” according to a press release issued by the commission.

The Mixed Commission – which contains representatives of Cameroon and Nigeria, as well as the UN – was established by the world body at the request of the African neighbours to help implement a 2002 International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on the delineation of the border. It has already reached agreement on more than 1,600 kilometres of the border.

In a communiqué issued at the end of this meeting, Cameroon and Nigeria reiterated their commitment to complete the demarcation by the end of next year.

The commission, chaired by Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, also noted the progress made by the two nations regarding the confidence-building initiatives for the populations affected by the demarcation.

The next session of the commission will be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 8-9 December.

Source: UN News Centre.

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