Some members of the house of representatives on Tuesday tackled Abubakar Aliyu, minister of power, over the electricity situation in the country.
Aliyu had appeared at an interactive session organised by the committee on power.
The lawmakers expressed reservations over the erratic power supply experienced across the country in recent weeks.
They said the ministry takes a “fire brigade approach” to dealing with the power outage and has shown no commitment to fixing the problem.Muraina Ajibola, a lawmaker from Oyo state, said the government is not prepared to provide constant power supply to citizens.
“These problems are not just starting now,” he said.
“For instance, we know every year there will be shortages of water and then they would be a problem at this time. We also know that during the period between January and March there is usually this shutdown. We have an abundance of gas but we are not making use of it.
“What we do is fire brigade approach. It is when that same problem is repeating itself that we will stand up from somewhere and say we are repairing this.
“The summary of it is that we are not prepared to give our people power. This is very sad because even when there is electricity, some constituencies like mine don’t even have light. There is light only when they want to send billing to us — estimated bills.”
‘POWER MINISTRY NOT IN CHARGE’
Also speaking, Aishatu Dukku, a lawmaker from Gombe, said her “heart bleeds” because the situation may not subside anytime soon.
“The permanent secretary said until the end of next year. So that means we will continue to be in total darkness until the end of 2023,” she said.
Sada Soli, a legislator from Katsina, said the ministry has failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians.
“I don’t think the ministry of power is in charge,” he said.
“There is a complete abdication of their responsibility. It is not their responsibility to deliver power to the consumers but they have a role to play.
“We don’t know what the ministry is doing. I think he should not be narrating this essay to this committee. Left for me, it’s a tutorial.
“I have the utmost respect for the permanent secretary but they have written this for him to present to us. We are grateful for the information but we need to know the generation as of today.”
‘NO MORE EXPLANATIONS’
Mariam Onuoha, a lawmaker from Imo state, said Nigerians need light — and not more explanations.
“I want to express my displeasure at the way the federal ministry of power and their agencies are handling the issues of power and power-related programmes,” she said.
I want to assume that there is some level of conspiracy targeted at bringing down government efforts despite all the money we have appropriated. Why is this happening when we are about to round up the present administration?
“Mr. chairman, you will agree with me that there is no project this ministry has brought before us that has seen the light of day. It’s always from one story to the other. Tell us what effects you are making to cure the defects.
“We don’t want to hear the complaints. We need practical steps to solve these problems. We want light. That’s what you were engaged to do. Give us light and the heat this period is unconsiderable. If you don’t solve this problem, you will be causing a lot of other health problems. I am sad. Give us light.”
‘TRANSFER NBET FROM FINANCE MINISTRY TO POWER’
Speaking earlier, Aliyu who was represented by Nebeolisa Anako, permanent secretary of the ministry, said the power blackout is caused by the disruption in gas supply to power plants.
He, however, said the outage has started to subside in some areas because the ministry and its partners are working to alleviate the challenges.
Magaji Aliyu, chairman of the committee, said the permanent secretary should return on Friday to present concrete steps taken by the ministry to address the power situation.
The chairman also said efforts should be made to return the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) from the ministry of finance to power.
“It is our opinion that we have to revisit the privatisation,” he said.
“We thought you would come with a list of how many plants we have and their capacities today. We have to do everything possible to bring back NBET under the ministry of power.
“We will never make progress if NBET is elsewhere. We will involve our leadership to ensure that the right thing is done for this country. There is nothing you have told us that is new — nothing!
“So you have to go back and tell the minister that we are not on the same page with the ministry and we did not agree with this submission in totality. There must be light. We have to work hard to ensure that this problem is solved. Where are the NIPP projects? How many plants do we have? What is the generation, transmission, distribution, everything? The president must hear this.
“We want you to come back to this by Friday with better solutions.