Former Nigerian Presidents have been accused of recklessly managing funds intended to provide regular power supply to Nigeria during their tenures.Local media, The Leadership, reported that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has shed light on Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and Goodluck Jonathan for squandering over N11 trillion ($30 billion).
SERAP, which made this accusation in a report titled, 'From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector', called for further investigation and prosecution of all involved in the fraud.
"The total estimated financial loss to Nigeria from corruption in the electricity sector starting from the return to democracy in 1999 to date is over Eleven Trillion Naira (N11 Trillion Naira). This represents public funds, private equity and social investment (or divestments) in the power sector," the report highlighted.
Further adding: "It is estimated that may reach over Twenty Trillion Naira (N20 Trillion Naira) [$55 billion] in the next decade given the rate of Government investment and funding in the power sector amidst dwindling fortune and recurrent revenue shortfalls."
The civil society organisation, in its 65-page report presented to the media by presented by Yemi Oke, Associate Professor, Energy/Electricity Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, concluded that "the country has lost more megawatts in the post-privatisation era due to corruption, impunity, among other social challenges reflected in the report".
Corruption in energy sector
The report accuses Dr Ransom Owan-led board of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of allegedly, "settling officials with millions of Naira as severance packages and for embarrassing them with alleged three billion Naira (N3,000,000,000.00) [$8 million] fraud. The authorities must undertake a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation as to the reasons why corruption charges were withdrawn, and to recover any corrupt funds,” The Leadership reported.
The report implicates professor Chinedu Nebo for dealings in corruption noting that he "handed over the assets of the PHCN to private investors on November 1, 2013. Prof. Nebo is alleged to have corruptly funded the privatised power sector with over N200 billion [$548 million] despite privatisation.
"The allegation of N200 billion [$548 million] funding of the privatised power sector during Prof Nebo's tenure should be thoroughly and transparently investigated and anyone suspected to be responsible prosecuted. Any corrupt funds should be fully recovered."
SERAP said: "The Federal Government should back-down from Rural Electrification initiatives and allow States to undertake rural electrification through their respective Local Governments and Development Areas.
“Federal Government should consider fully divesting its stakes in the power sector and allow for efficient, decentralized sector governance by Federal and State governments, as appropriate, in line with the provisions of the Second Schedule, paragraph 13 and 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)."
Read further on the report here.