Minister of State for Power, Darius Ishaku
Gboyega Akinsanmi, Linda Eroke and Taye Oye
The National Assembly has said it would probe the £2.2million (N572 million) of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) pension money, which it said, was discovered in an unutilised Barclays Bank account.
But the Federal Government has begun moves to retrieve the money and put it to use for the benefit of the workers in the PHCN.
The development Tuesday came up at the Ikeja Forum Office for Electricity Complaints, which was officially inaugurated with Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and Minister of State for Power, Darius Ishaku, among others in attendance.
Speaking at the event, the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the discovery, “should not be swept under the carpet. We will ensure that the issue is not swept under the carpet.”
Dabiri-Erewa, who stood in for the House Committee Chairman on Power, Patrick Ikhariale, said it “is inhuman and wicked to keep pensioners money in a foreign bank. We will not sit back and watch that remain in that bank.”
She added that the House “will objectively investigate the account after it reconvenes. It will immediately after it comes back from recess, begin enquiry into the said sum reported to have been unutilised for over 20 years and try to retrieve it.”
Ishaku, on his part, however, said the Federal Government “has commenced moves to retrieve the money and put it to use for the benefit of the workers in the PHCN. The panel that was set up recently by the President submitted their report on Monday and this was one of the discoveries by the panel that is the offshore amount.
“We are still negotiating with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and with this discovery, another window has been opened. The window shows that we have some funds somewhere. At the end of the day, we will make use of the funds,” he said.
According to him, the fund is in the advantage of the negotiation that is ongoing between the Federal Government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
Ishaku said the Ministry of Power was doing everything within its powers to sustain the improvement in the power sector, saying it was currently generating about 4300 megawatts of electricity across Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) yesterday said the report of the panel of inquiry on pension matters in the power sector has vindicated it from the pension scam.