Low level of electricity supply in Nigeria,no doubt, is a major concern for everybody. On a daily basis, every hour, every minute, we feel the impact, at family level, at office and business levels, in virtually everything we do, and where we stay. Electricity is life. That is why; every bit of information about it should be of interest to all citizens.
Our attention in Verbatim, as editors, news managers, was drawn to a worrisome news item about electricity in Nigeria, six months ago. The news item came from the power wing of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, where Babtunde Fashola held sway as the last Honourable Minister,up till May 2019.
The news item is about an uncommon transaction in government business, at the Ministry: Pre-Payment for Prepaid Meter Supply. It’s a brewing controversy, on one of the many reasons why Nigeria is in darkness.
A whooping sum of N37bilion,part of money budgeted for meter supply and installation to homes and offices in Nigeria, an arrangement that was initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2015, was transferred to a bank account of a Lagos based contractor, by the Ministry. The contractor is yet to do the job. Audit investigators from the Office of Auditor General for the Federation have faulted the transaction, describing it as payment for job not done,and a contravention of extant rules.
But the Permanent Secretary(Power),Louis Edozien, is fighting hard to justify what happened. He told Verbatim that the jumbo sum is being treated as loan to the contractor. His letter to Verbatim on the subjectis analysed and published as part of the cover story, in this edition. It’s a Verbatim Exclusive.
Two other major controversies currently hitting up the polity attracted our attention in this edition. One is about battle of wits between new governors and ex-governors in many states. The new governors have cried out about empty treasuries left behind by ex-governors. Investigations and recovery efforts are on-going now, especially in Imo, Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa states.
The second is about efforts being made by the federal government to find solution to conflicts arising from herdsmen activities in the country.With many deaths recorded in virtually all parts of the country, government plans to set up Ruga settlements for the herdsmen in many parts of the country. Opposition is rising,from the South East,Middle belt, South-South and South West. We serve you full details in this edition.
As usual, this edition of Verbatim magazine is rich, in all departments. From state of the nation reports, to politics, business, crime, environment, there is something for everybody. Thank you foryour continued patronage.