From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
THE Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola , has lamented that litigation on energy matters has robbed the nation many megawatts of electricity that could have alleviated the suffering of the people.
Fashola, who disclosed this while delivering a goodwill message at the Workshop for Judicial Officers on the Nigeria Energy-Power Sector in Abuja,stated that the recently resolved dispute between Enugu DISCO and Geometric Electric,particularly, denied the realization of about 200MW of power that could have simply solved problem in Aba and Ariaria axis.
His words: ““There are a lot of disputes on-going, some have dragged for 13 years, the recently resolved crisis by government between Enugu Disco and Geometric Electric has denied the nation the realization of about 200MW that could have simply solved problem in Aba and Ariaria axis.”
He explained that out of 120 Transmission projects, only a fraction of these are free from disputes.
He then challenged judicial officials to dispense off cases on time so that Nigerians would be able to realize the social and economic benefits of such projects.
Fashola said that since his coming on board, his office have had to deal with many litigations, with grave consequences on manpower loss, youth unemployment and loss in revenue that would have accrued to government.
He, however, noted that despite all these frustrations, the Federal Government is still strongly committed to rule of law, separation of power and respect for the judiciary, and would rather appeal that these challenges are resolved in order to ensure a better and steady power supply in the country.
He observed that the theme of the workshop “Emerging legal and Policy Reforms in the Petroleum and Power Sectors of Nigeria” has aptly captured the goal of achieving appreciable growth with availability of steady electricity supply through the removal of legal bottlenecks in an industry that is largely a private sector driven now at a fledging state.
The Minister said that the fundamental issue is centered on the conflict between private interests and public rights to goods and services.
“Hence, there should also be a balanced position in order for the Buhari administration to deliver on a number of ongoing projects that would boost electricity supply nationwide, and Presidential directive of 10,000MW by the year 2019.”