Home News $16bn power projects: Expand searchlight beyond Obasanjo’s government, SERAP tells Buhari

$16bn power projects: Expand searchlight beyond Obasanjo’s government, SERAP tells Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has urged Muhammadu Buhari, the President  of Nigeria to urgently refer the allegations of mismanagement of $16 billion power projects between 1999 and 2007 to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation.

The group also said that if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, anyone suspected to be involved should face prosecution.

SERAP also urged Buhari to refer to the EFCC and ICPC not just allegations regarding the $16 billion power projects but also 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.

Buhari had on Tuesday accused Obasanjo of spending $16bn on power projects during his tenure as the President without corresponding power supply to Nigerians.

But 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, and referring Buhari to his autobiography, My Watch, which he said reproduced various reports on the matter.

But SERAP in a statement by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo 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.”

“By immediately pursuing justice and recovery of any stolen assets in the power sector, the Buhari government would be acting in the public interest, and consistent with the spirit and letter of the constitution, particularly Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution dealing with Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, and providing that high-level public officials have a clear obligation to “eradicate all corrupt practices and abuse of power,” it said.