Vexed by the reported sale of publicly built electricity power plants by the government to political elite and some blacklisted heavy bank debtors, a call has gone to President Goodluck Jonathan to cancel the transaction for the manifest lack of transparency and the clear breach of public good.
In a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media officer Miss. Zainab Yusuf, the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) dismissed the reported acquisition of these nationally owned electricity power plants by persons that are politically exposed and closely linked to top government officials as “fraudulent”, “deceptive”, and a gross breach of public trust.
The Rights group further submitted that it is preposterous, laughable and untenable in law and practice that most of the persons linked to the successful winners of the so-called public biddings for the now privatized electricity power plants are some of those Nigerian business executives recently black listed by the central Bank of Nigeria as bad and unfaithful debtors who are not credit worthy.
HURIWA also cautioned government officials from going ahead with what the group identified as “unbridled” scramble to buy up public assets belonging to all Nigerians at very ridiculously cheap rate with allegedly ill-gotten wealth just as HURIWA expressed apprehension that such malpractices and manifest misappropriation of public assets by politicians could spark off violent revolts by the poor people.
HURIWA stated thus; “We are worried that members of the National Council on privatization (NCP) populated largely by handpicked loyalists of top Federal Government officials and members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party [PDP] are hiding under some nebulous provisions in the public Enterprises Act, 1999, to auction off strategic public assets such as electricity power plants and other sensitive national assets to themselves, their cronies and even to certain dubious business executives”.
The Rights group laments thus: “We think that some aspects of this public enterprises Act/law of 1999 which require core investor or strategic partners to be sold controlling shares of these enterprises while Nigerian public are left with little or nothing amounts to assets’ stripping and fraudulent and therefore must be amended by the National Assembly to enable the Nigerians public retain massive shares in these investments which in the first instance were built and maintained with public fund over the years”.
Specifically, media reports stated that some of the companies that emerged preferred bidders at the end of the exercise were backed by former military President General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd); chairman of Forte Oil Plc, Mr. Femi Otedola; chairman of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria plc (Transcorp), Mr. Tony Elumelu; former military administrator of Kano state Colonel Sani Bello (rtd); and former military Vice President Okhai Akhigbe; among other top political elite.