Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said the Federal Government is not afraid of going to court over allegations of preferential treatment offered two power generating companies.
Fashola made this known at the 25th monthly meeting with operators in the power sector hosted by Ibom Power, at the Ibom Hall, IBB Way, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday.
The minister said this in reaction to a suit filed by the power generating companies (GENCOs) last week.
GENCOs had, on March 6, sued the federal government for alleged discriminatory treatment of the companies and their gas suppliers with intent to harm their business interests.
In the suit, the Gencos also accused government of conferring preferential treatment on Azura Power West Africa Limited and Accugas Limited to the detriment of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry and the power sector, as a whole.
The suit, filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, has the GENCOs represented by Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited (“Mainstream”), Transcorp Power Limited (“Transcorp Power”), Egbin Power Plc (“Egbin”) and Northsouth Power Company Limited (“Northsouth”) as the plaintiffs in the suit.
The defendants were named as the Federal Government of Nigeria (1st defendant), Central Bank of Nigeria (2nd defendant), Minister of Power, Works & Housing (3rd defendant), Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, NBET (4th defendant), Azura Power West Africa Limited (5th defendant) and Accugas Limited (6th defendant).
But, Fashola fired back, yesterday, when he accused the GENCOs of blackmail and politicking.
“While they seek refuge in a court of law, they must be ready to face scrutiny in the court of public opinion. The court of public opinion is a court of conscience and morality. In the court of public opinion, they must be ready to tell the citizens how they felt when other groups went to court to stop the implementation of tariffs approved by NERC in 2016.
“They must explain to this public court whether they went to court before government approved a N701 billion payment Assurance Guarantee to pay their monthly power bills. They must disclose to this court that they owed debts, from the pre-Buhari era, because their income had reduced to less than 50 per cent.
“They must disclose to this court that they now receive about 80 per cent income and that this government is now paying them revenues collected from international customers from the Republic of Benin, Niger and Togo, in dollars, as against the naira payment they used to receive.”
The minister argued that, in both courts, the GENCOs must disclose how they felt when some DisCos went to court to stop the enforcement of Provision of Promissory Notes, which was a condition that denied them access to the CBN low interest loans.
Fashola also alleged that the GENCOs are planning to disrupt energy supply to sabotage government efforts.
“Let me say very clearly to all operators that I get reports of many of the clandestine meetings that some of them are holding, with a view to disrupt supply for political capital.
“I will close by imploring those that are truly ready to run the business they have acquired voluntarily to continue to do so, with the assurance of government’s support and partnership. “As for those who entered the business without understanding it, please brace up for hard work and help us rebuild this country.”