The Civil Society Network against Corruption (CSNAC), a coalition of over one hundred and fifty (150) anti-corruption organizations, hereby condemns the continuous futility of constitution of panels by the Senate to probe on various national issues of alleged fraud.

The Nigeria’s Senate has again set up an ad-hoc committee with Senator Abubakar Kyari as chairman to carry out a holistic investigation on the management of funds appropriated for power sector since 1999 and the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, during plenary on Thursday, 13th of August, 2015, announced membership of the committee.

Appointed members of the committee purportedly include Senators Godswill Akpabio, Babajide Omoworare, Mohammed Hassan, Ali Wakili, Mao Ohuabunwa, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, Olusola Adeyeye and Mohammed Shaaba Lafiagi.

According to news report, the committee has four weeks within which to do its work and the decision was taken following the adoption of a motion on “The disconnection of Maiduguri from the National Grid and General Power Degeneration in Nigeria” sponsored by Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume.

In the motion, Senator Ndume, who is from Borno South, reportedly noted with sadness the hardship and sufferings of the people in Maiduguri occasioned by lack of electricity supply and observed that the disconnection of Maiduguri from the National grid and the general degeneration of power supply across the country have led to the collapse of several industries, a development impacting negatively on the national economy.

Furthermore, the Senator expressed concern that in spite of the huge sum of money, Nigeria with a population of over 150 million people produces only 4600 mega watts while South Africa with a population of 40 million people produces 40,000 mega watts with additional 11,000 mega watts to come on stream.

The Senate also noted that besides corruption, lack of power supply had plunged the country into hardship.

While we are in alignment with the Senate’s concern on the parlous state of power supply in the country, despite billions of naira that have been invested in the power sector, we believe probes by Senate are mere distractions as previous probes undertaken by the Assembly have produced no tangible result. So far, it has all amounted to waste of national resources which the country cannot afford at this moment. The assembly should forward information at its disposal, from previous probes, to anti-corruption agencies who actually own the responsibility to investigate the use/ misuse of appropriated funds.

The previous Assembly are equally culpable in the corruption that bedeviled the power sector. Many application and misappropriation happened with active connivance and under the supervision of National Assembly members. This proposed probe is therefore nothing but a deliberate distraction and possibly an attempt at creating an escape route for people behind the mismanagement of our power sector.

The National Assembly must realize and be alive to its primary legislative responsibility of law making and oversight functions. The assembly should legislate to prevent a repeat of situations leading to our current state of affairs in the power sector. Expectations of Nigerians from the 8th Assembly are very high. No distraction and below standard performance can be tolerated.

Olanrewaju Suraju

Chair