House Probes Sale of PHCN Non-core Assets, Maintenance on Refineries


James Emejo in Abuja

The House of Representatives tuesday passed a resolution mandating its Committees on Power and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to investigate allegations of fraudulent sale of non-core assets and scraps of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and report back in one month.

It demanded that further sales of the assets be suspended pending the outcome of the probe.
The lawmakers also urged its committees on power and BPP to monitor further sales of the remaining overtime cargoes.

The resolution of the lower House followed a motion brought under matter of urgent public importance by Hon. Rita Orji (APC, Lagos) on the need to investigate the sale of PHCN non-core assets and scraps.

Also, the House passed a motion to carry out a detailed investigation on the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) carried out on the four refineries to date and determine the utilisation level of the Warri, Kaduna and Port-Harcourt refineries as well as identify the private and corporate individuals that have refused to utilise the licences (regular and modular); the readiness and status of all current holders and report back in 90 days for further legislative action.

The resolve was consequent upon a motion by Hon. Ibrahim Isiaka, on the need to investigate the status of the nation’s four refineries, their TAM and regular/modular licenced refineries.
Also, yesterday, the green chamber passed a resolution calling on the federal government to urgently address the security challenges in Shinkafi Local Government Area and other parts of Zamfara State.

It further directed its Committees on Public Safety and National Security, Defence and Police Affairs to carry out thorough investigation into the remote and immediate causes of recent attacks leading to loss of lives and properties in Tungar mai Kahu and Mallamawa villages in the local government and other parts of Zamfara States and report back to the House within four weeks.

In a motion moved by Hon. Sardaunan Moriki (Zamfara) on an urgent call on the federal government to address the security challenges in the local government and other parts of the state, the lawmakers further directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to package immediate intervention comprising food, clothing and other basic necessities of life to the affected victims as a relief in order to salvage them from the hardship they are facing.

The House also observed a minute silence in honour of those who lost their lives as a mark of respect and condolence to their families and relatives.

Meanwhile, Rita noted that the auctioning of PHCN overtime cargoes, scrap and obsolete items worth N20 billion had been recently carried out while over N1.5 billion was claimed to have been realised from the sales.

She expressed concern that the bidding process had nevertheless been alleged to be neither transparent nor forthright, stressing that allegations of fraudulent activities marred the sales as the outcome of the exercise ended in dispute.

In his debate, Hon. Agunsoye Rotimi (APC, Lagos) said the news about the alleged sale of PHCN assets was rather worrisome given that electricity appears to be the most essential thing in the world.

He said those who acquired PHCN couldn’t even meet up with public expectations on delivery but instead engaged in selling of power assets and infrastructure.

Also, Moriki, in his motion on insecurity in Zamfara, expressed concern that the situation had deteriorated further in view of series of reports of attacks on communities leading to loss of lives and properties worth millions of naira.

Contributing to the debate, Hon. Tobi Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) said the situation bothered essentially on governance as there’s been up to seven motion sponsored by members on the state of Insecurity in Zamfara and nothing appears to have been done.

He queried the extend to which security agencies had lived up to expectation as well as the extent to which previous motions had been implemented- and called for a paradigm shift.
Hon. Elendu-Ukeje Nnnena (PDP, Abia) said the crisis in Zamfara was a spillover of crisis from around the world including Boko Harm, ISIS.

She stressed the need to energise the armed forces as they are currently occupied in in active combat in the six geo-political zones.
She also called for concrete policy direction on climate critical which has informed the relocation of persons In reaction to the climate.