Fashola, Baru, TCN officials shun Senate probe

By Ezrel Tabiowo

Abuja

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, and officials of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), yesterday, failed to appear before an investigative hearing organised by the joint Senate committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, and Gas.
The Senate summons on the officials to appear before the joint committee was sequel to a resolution reached by the upper chamber to probe “The urgent need to save the 215 megawatt Kaduna Power Plant.”
While Fashola sent the Permanent Secretary in charge of Power, Mr. Frank Edozie, the NNPC boss did not send any representative for the investigative hearing. Interim Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TCN, Usman Gur Mohammed, sent one assistant manager as his representative.
The committee chairman on Power, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who expressed his displeasure over the non-appearance of Fashola and other government officials invited, threatened that appropriate actions will be taken.
He said: “Fashola did not call me. He did not send a letter to inform this committee that he will not be around. If he feels that attending to other things is more important than the Senate and Nigerians, I wish him well. But the Senate is bigger than anybody.
“As a committee, we will take an appropriate action against those we invited and refused to turn up. They are taking Nigerians and the Senate for granted and we will not take this.”
Co-chairman of committee, Bassey Akpan, who heads Gas committee, insisted that Fashola must be compelled to appear before the committee at another date to explain the role he played, regarding the botched gas supply to the power station, located in Kaduna state.
The committee is investigating why the Ministry reverted to the use of diesel to power the 215 megawatt-Kaduna power plant, as against the original master plan to use gas.
The committee said the use of diesel, which is also referred to as Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) is 60 per cent higher than gas, approved for the power plant.
The committee is also investigating why the Ministry flouted its resolution to stay action on the contract, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Abaribe said: “Given that the cost of AGO is 60 per cent higher than gas usage, it is also not environmentally friendly and not in line with the United Nations Charter on Green Energy and Climate Change.
“Another issue we are faced with is the lack of gas pipelines from the southern to northern part of the country which on its own has hindered the generation capacity of the Kaduna Power Plant.”
Reacting, Edozie, who stood in for Fashola, said the use of AGO is a temporal measure. He insisted that the original master plan to use gas to power the plant was still intact.
Commission inspects federal projects in South-east
Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) is currently inspecting ongoing federal projects for 2015/2016 fiscal years in some states in the South-east to ensure quality service delivery to the people.
Acting Chairman of FRC, Victor Muruako, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that the Commission was simultaneously doing same in other zones in the country.
Projects inspected included construction work at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku/Ozalla; National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu; Federal School Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu; and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi (NUATH).
Others were the ongoing Enugu-Onitsha Federal Road, Oji-Achi-Awgu Federal Road, Adada Dam project, Enugu and Federal Secretariat Complex, Awka.
Muruako said the inspection was part of the Commission’s mandate to ensure that the quantum of money released by Federal Budget Office for projects was commensurate with level of work delivered so far.
“We want to ensure that Nigerians, no matter where they reside, get value for each kobo spent by the federal government on projects meant to uplift their lives,” he said.

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