Senate President, David Mark
Nebo: I’ll chase away demons in power sector
Omololu Ogunmade in Abujaâ€¨
After two hours of intense scrutiny, the Senate yesterday confirmed the former Vice-Chancellor of University of Nigeria (UNN), Professor Osita Chinedu Nebo, and Mr. Kabiru Taminu Turaki as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The duo hail from Enugu andKebbi States respectively.
The nominees will replace Professor Barth Nnaji who resigned from the federal cabinet in June last year and Dr. Haliru Bello who was sacked by the president as Minister of Defence, ostensibly for non-performance.
Nebo and Turaki were unanimously confirmed by the Committee of the Whole House after a two-hour intensive question and answer session.
Senate President, David Mark, while announcing the confirmation, said both men were very frank in answering the questions thrown at them to the extent that if they translated their submissions in the chamber into action, they showed that they have the capacity to do well in their respective ministries.
Nebo, while answering questions from the senators, said he was aware that some highly placed Nigerians have constituted themselves into a “mafia” in the power sector.
He observed, however, that the same God who helped him salvage UNN, Nsukka, which he said had been taken over by cultists before his advent as vice-chancellor in 2004, would also give him the strength to “chase away the demons” who have taken over the power sector.
Nebo, who described the sectoral roadmap as a catalystfor revolution in the power sector, disclosed that there have been significant losses in power generation and distribution in Nigeria partly because cables used in generation are sub-standard.
In this regard, he advocated the need to put in place an effective Power Training Institute, which can champion efficient training of personnel.
According to Nebo, doing so will lead to the creation of 10,000 jobs as he warned against repeating what he tagged the mistakes made in the oil and gas industry as well as telecoms sector which he said made no prior preparation for training of personnel before their deregulation.
Nebo, who until his appointment was the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University, Oye Ekiti, said with the unbundling of Power Holding Company Nigeria (PHCN), Nigeria hopes to generate 40,000 megawatts by 2020 and advised the National Assembly to join hands with the executive to strengthen anti-graft agencies so that they are better positioned to fight corruption.
Turaki, a legal practitioner, while answering questions from the lawmakers on possible solutions in the fight against insurgency, said for the military to be more effective in the fight against terrorism, there is the need for training and re-training of the officers so that they can better understand the rules of the game.
He described the deployment of troop by the Federal Government to Mali as a step in the right direction, adding that Nigeria could not have sat back and folded its arms while other countries moved into the troubled West African country to confront the Jihadist rebels.
On the decay unearthed at the Police College, Ikeja, Turaki, who said he had been a member of the Committee on the Reform of Nigeria Police, said the problems in the police are legion and cannot be solved in one year owing to age-old rot in the institution.