Grid collapse: Group demands audit of power sector under Buhari

Kayode Oyero
Kayode Oyero

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Sunday, said it is disturbing that under the watch of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the national power grid is collapsing intermittently even after humongous investments.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, lamented that despite trillions of dollars thought to have been borrowed by the Buhari regime to improve the megawatts produced by about 19 power generating plants in the country, the national grid keeps wobbling, with perpetual outages that throw businesses, homes and the entire country into subterranean darkness.

The group, therefore, demanded a comprehensive forensic financial audit of the power sector since Buhari came on board and call for all the top figures that have served under this government since 2015 for them to render accounts.

HURIWA’s call followed the collapse of the national electricity grid on Friday, making it the third time the grid had collapsed within the space of one month, and about the fifth in 2022.

Many Nigerian cities and economic powerhouses including Abuja, Lagos, Jos, Kaduna, were thrown into darkness Friday after the national grid collapsed again.

In January 2020, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, after a National Economic Council meeting in Abuja, said the Buhari regime has supported Nigeria’s “broken” electricity sector with N1.7 trillion since 2017.

In September 2021, Buhari said that Nigeria needed over $400bn to fund its critical energy needs, according to a statement quoted by Bloomberg.

Earlier in June, the World Bank said the Buhari government has borrowed a total of N1.3tn since 2017 to ensure that generation companies continue generating electricity, adding that it would cost the Federal Government an additional N3.08tn through 2023, if current performance levels and low tariffs persist.

HURIWA said many more debts have been incurred by the Buhari regime under the pretext of attempting to stabilise the power sector but yet Nigeria barely generates and distributes 5,000 megawatts daily, while businesses and homes grapple with increasing electricity tariffs, fuel scarcity and its attendant hike in prices.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is worrisome that despite the huge spendings on the power sector, the situation under Buhari hasn’t improved an inch. Asides from the external borrowings, over one trillion has entered the electricity sector through budgetary provisions. Yet, whilst the politicians feed fat on this humongous cash, the national grid keeps intermittently collapsing and nobody is held to account.

“HURIWA demands a comprehensive forensic financial audit of the power sector since President Muhammadu Buhari came on board and calls for the arrest of all the top figures that have served in the sector including ministers if they so failed to render accounts. Nigerians cannot continue living in perpetual darkness and paying dearly for it through high tariffs. Enough is enough.”

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