Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said multiple probes by the House of Representatives on issues affecting his ministry are distracting him.
He also said the frequency of his visit to the National Assembly is frustrating.
Fashola stated this when he appeared at an investigative hearing organised by the House Representatives Committee on Power, on the Transmission Company of Nigeria ( TCN), yesterday.
Consequently, he appealed to the House leadership to streamline all investigations relating to TCN.
“We closed here last week and we are resuming this week with this committee. Committees of the House also will be asking us of our budget performance and we just need to work in the office so that we can also perform. So, I think there’s a sense here that I respectfully ask you to sufficiently use this time so we can also work to serve the Nigerian people.
“We have a letter dated December 20, 2017 and that letter was issued under the name of one Nnamdi D. Onuigwe Esqr, Comittee Clerk. And, it’s from the House of Representatives, saying the House has constituted an ad hoc committee on the need to investigate the Fiscal Responsibility and Procurement Acts by the TCN. It was pursuant to House resolution 114/ADHOT/TCN2 of December 20.
“Now, we were waiting to be invited by the ad hoc committee when we got this letter asking us to come today, signed by Ibrahim Sidi, Committee Clerk pursuant to House resolution 189 of December 5, 2017. Although, it’s headed as “Need To facilitate Swift action on management of TCN Electric Power Reforms, it goes in the body to ask us to come and explain to this investigative committee the interim management of TCN on the delay in the implementation of projects such as the Nigerian Electricity Gas Improvement project that will improve power sector in Nigeria.
“So, I seek clarification in order to assist the committee in its work and if it’s possible, to harmonise all of what we want to do together, bearing in mind that this House substantially is handling some possibly over-lapping issues.”
The minister also questioned the rational behind the committee’s decision to hire one Mr. Ron Van Arnault as its consultant. Fashola noted that same man worked with Manitoba, which he accused as being responsible for the challenges which confronted TCN in the previous administration.
However, Committee Chairman, Daniel Asuquo said he has his reasons for engaging Ron.
“Just as you have your reasons for taking decisions, I also have my reasons for hiring Mr. Ron and it’s not up to you to question our decision.
“Today, Eugene Edozie is seated here as the permanent secretary of your ministry, but, I could remember in the Seventh Assembly, I served on a panel that investigated him on an allegation that he didn’t have NYSC certificate and we recommended that he be removed from the post he was holding at the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP). But, he’s your perm sec and you have not questioned his qualifications…”