A Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) report has indicated that Nigeria may witness an estimated loss of N20 trillion from corruption in the power sector in the next decade if urgent steps are not taken.
A 64-page report presented by electricity law expert and lecturer in the University of Lagos, Dr Yemi Oke, in Lagos on Wednesday stated that the expected loss in revenue is coming amid dwindling fortune and recurrent revenue shortfalls.
The report entitled: “From Darkness to Darkness” How Nigerians are paying the price for corruption in the electricity sector agenda”, released by SERAP in partnership with Mac Arthur Foundation in Lagos, contained findings in electricity sector which is dashing Nigerians’ hope of efficient and regular power supply.
Describing the importance of energy to the Nigerian economy, Dr Oke, who authored the report, said the total financial loss to Nigeria from corruption in the sector starting from return to democracy in 1999 to date is over N11 trillion, representing public funds, private equity and social investment or divestment in the power sector.
He regretted that the Federal Government did not earn any dime in the privatisation of the sector because it was sold to political positioned persons, who could not make any meaningful impact on the sector.
Nigerians, he said, would continue to grapple in darkness with more fund and increased tariff because of corruption aided by lack of effective monitoring and supervision, the top-down model of electricity governance in Nigeria, institutional decay and the current corrupt attitudinal dispositions of sector officials and other players in the power sector as well as the current structural arrangement and institutional improprieties amongst others.
The university don, therefore, said the need for the Federal Government to revisit the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) scandal to send strong signals that corruption in the power sector will no longer be tolerated.
He also urged the federal government to back down from Rural Electrification initiatives and allow States to undertake rural electrification through their respective local governments and developments areas.
Other recommendations, he recommended in the report include the full divesting of federal government stakes in the power sector and allowing for efficient, decentralized sector governance by federal and state governments in line with the provisions of the second schedule, paragraph 13 and 14 of the Constitution.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and human rights activist, Femi Falana, challenged the 36 States in Nigeria to stop going to Abuja to get license to generate electricity in their States.
Describing the report as a compulsory reading for every patriotic Nigerians, Falana said the report was very revealing and provoking that Nigerians are victims of darkness.
According to him, the report has come out at a very opportune time at the time we are talking about restructuring, saying we cannot to centralise power generation, distribution and transmission.
Falana, therefore, urged Lagos State government to lead the battle to take power out from Abuja.
He also advocated for public interest litigation to enforce that we challenge the constitutional validity of the power sector reform act as the ideology of privatization is fraudulent.
Earlier, the Executive Director of SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni , had said the idea for the report supported by Mac Arthur Foundation is premised on the multidimensional effect of corruption in the electricity sector on the Nigerian citizens who are forced to generate their own electricity as well as crazy bill phenomenon.
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