👤 By Adenike Lucas
Sixteen billion dollars was wasted on power projects between 1999 and 2007, President Muhammadu Buhari claims.
The President made the allegation at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, during a visit by the Buhari Support Organisation, BSO, which was led by the Comptroller-General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd).
The 75-year-old alluded that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was head of state at the period in question, used the money and achieved nothing.
“One of the former Heads of State between that time was bragging that he spent more than 16 billion American dollars, not Naira on power.
“Where is the power? Where is the power?” President Buhari asked in the video below.
While he seemed to be critical of Chief Obasanjo who is not in favour of his second term bid, President Buhari, a one-time head of the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, had nothing but praises for his former boss, the late General Sani Abacha.
He said: “No matter what opinion you have about Abacha, I agreed to work with him and the roads we did from PTF exist from here to Port Harcourt, to Onitsha, to Benin and so on.”
President Buhari, who was elected in 2015 on the basis of fighting corruption, has stated in the past that General Abacha “never stole.”
READ ALSO : BUHARI IMPEACHMENT PETITION : Hundreds Sign Petition To Get President Buhari Impeached
Despite what President Buhari says, a sum of $321 million was returned to Nigeria from Switzerland as money “illegally” shored up by General Abacha.
READ ALSO : $321m Abacha loot : Recovered Funds’ll Be Used On Social Protection Programmes – FG
Responding to the comment on the money spent on power during his tenure, Chief Obasanjo who served as military head of state between 1976 and 1979, said the statement “credited to President Muhammadu Buhari” was made based on “ignorance.”
The former Military General, who scores Nigeria’s President low and has advised him not to seek re-election due to his failure to perform as expected, said: “We recommend that the President and his co-travellers should read Chapters 41, 42, 43 and 47 of My Watch for Chief Obasanjo’s insights and perspectives on the power sector and indeed what transpired when the allegation of $16 billion on power projects was previously made.
“If he cannot read the three-volume book, he should detail his aides to do so and summarise the chapters in a language that he will easily understand.”
Here’s Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s reply in full:
It has come to the attention of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that a statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, apparently without correct information and based on ignorance, suggested that $16 billion was wasted on power projects by “a former President”. We believe that the President was re-echoing the unsubstantiated allegation against Chief Obasanjo by his own predecessor but one.
While it is doubtful that a President with proper understanding of the issue would utter such, it should be pointed out that records from the National Assembly had exculpated President Obasanjo of any wrong-doing concerning the power sector and has proved the allegations as false.
For the records, Chief Obasanjo has addressed the issues of the power sector and the allegations against him on many occasions and platforms, including in his widely publicised book, My Watch in which he exhaustively stated the facts and reproduced various reports by both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which conducted a clinical investigation into the allegations against Chief Obasanjo, and the Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the Recommendations in the Report of the Committee on Power on the Investigation into how the Huge Sums Of Money was Spent on Power Generation, Transmission And Distribution between June 1999 and May 2007 without Commensurate Result.
We recommend that the President and his co-travellers should read Chapters 41, 42, 43 and 47 of My Watch for Chief Obasanjo’s insights and perspectives on the power sector and indeed what transpired when the allegation of $16 billion on power projects was previously made. If he cannot read the three-volume book, he should detail his aides to do so and summarise the chapters in a language that he will easily understand.
In the same statement credited to the President, it was alleged that there was some bragging by Chief Obasanjo over $16 billion spent on power. To inform the uninformed, the so-called $16 billion power expenditure was an allegation against Chief Obasanjo’s administration and not his claim. The President also queried where the power generated is. The answer is simple: The power is in the seven National Integrated Power Projects and eighteen gas turbines that Chief Obasanjo’s successor who originally made the allegation of $16 billion did not clear from the ports for over a year and the civil works done on the sites.
Chief Obasanjo challenges, and in fact encourages, anybody to set up another enquiry if in doubt and unsatisfied with the EFCC report and that of the Hon. Aminu Tambuwal-led ad-hoc committee.
Categories: Current Affairs