The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to refer the allegations of mismanagement of $16 billion power projects to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation.
Buhari had on Tuesday accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of spending $16bn on power projects during his tenure as the President without corresponding power supply to Nigerians.
Responding, Obasanjo said the President’s allegation was rooted in ignorance, claiming he was already cleared of any wrongdoing concerning the power sector by the National Assembly.
In a statement sent to Concise News on Wednesday by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said that if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, anyone suspected to be involved in the projects should face prosecution.
SERAP also urged Buhari to investigate the alleged squandering of over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply covering the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.”
Mumuni said; “We welcome the focus by President Buhari on the massive allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the power sector and urge him to expand his searchlight beyond the Obasanjo government by ensuring accountability and full recovery of the over N11 trillion squandered by the three administrations. It is only by pursuing all the allegations and taking the evidence before the court that the truth will be revealed and justice best served. This is the only way to conclusively address the systemic corruption in the power sector and an entrenched culture of impunity of perpetrators.”
“Addressing impunity in the power sector should be total. This would help improve the integrity of government and public confidence and trust in their government. It would also serve as a vehicle to further the public’s perception of fairness and thoroughness, and to avert any appearance of political considerations in the whole exercise.”
The statement added; “SERAP notes that lack of access to uninterrupted energy/electricity services has forced many citizens to use and collect frequently contaminated surface water for drinking and household uses; and denied the citizens the ability and services for boiling, purifying, disinfecting, and storing water, as well as for irrigation to increase the productivity of lands, thereby decreasing the availability of food supplies and undermining employment opportunities.
“SERAP notes that the failure by successive governments to tell Nigerians the truth about allegations of corruption in the spending of not just the $16 billion but also the over N11 trillion spent by three governments on electricity supply amounts to a failure to ensure that energy services/electricity services are progressively made available, on the basis of equality and non-discrimination, to the whole population, including those most disadvantaged, such as the fringe dwellers and the rural poor.”