FG Suspends Ogunbiyi as MD of REA over Alleged Infractions

Damilola Ogunbiyi

Fires Amobi as CEO of electricity bulk trader

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The federal government yesterday disclosed that it has asked the Managing Director of its Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi, who was hired in April 2017, to proceed on an indefinite suspension for “apparent infractions” committed in the agency.

The government has announced the sack of the Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), Dr. Marilyn Amobi, and subsequently set up a five-man team to investigate complaints against her leadership at the NBET.

A statement by Mr. Aaron Artimas, the media adviser to the Minister of Power, Mr. Sale Mamman, stated that the suspension and sack of both officials were done to reposition the operations of the agencies they previously headed.

It said that: “Following some apparent infractions in the Rural Electrification Agency, the Honourable Minister of Power, Sale Mamman has directed the Managing Director of the agency, Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi to proceed on indefinite suspension with immediate effect.”

“Ms. Ogunbiyi is to hand over to the next most senior officer in the agency. Consequently, the minister has directed an immediate investigation into the activities of the agency towards repositioning it for better service delivery.”

REA has been allegedly involved in corrupt cases of contract manipulation, inefficient project development and deliveries as well as frequent management squabbles. The late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2009 ordered that the agency be wound up over its alleged failure to live up to its mandate and corrupt practices linked to its award of contracts.

Ogunbiyi was however appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017 to cleanup and revive the agency. She subsequently attracted private and multilateral investors including the World Bank to the agency and embarked on electrification projects, some of which were opposed by electricity distribution companies (DisCos) for allegedly encroaching on their distribution networks.

The statement also explained that Amobi was fired “in continuation of the reorganisation/sanitation in the Federal Ministry of Power.”

It added that Mamman “directed the Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company to step down with immediate effect.”

“In view of this, the minister had also directed the constitution of a five-man investigative committee to look into the myriads of complaints against the MD/CEO with the view to restoring sanity in the management of the company. Consequently, she is to handover to the most senior director in the organisation,” the statement said.

Amobi’s tenure at the NBET also included instances of controversies over her leadership style and policies operators, especially power generation companies (GenCos) considered inimical to their operations.