Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria(HURIWA), yesterday, said the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, lacked power under the laws to suspend Managing Director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (Plc), Dr. Marilyn Amobi.
It faulted the minister for acting outside the Act of NBTE in axing Amobi. It said there is no law empowering any minister to give directives of any nature to NBET.
The association faulted the minister in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf.
The statement read: “HURIWA has observed that the Hon. Minister of Power ordered Dr. Marilyn Amobi to “step down with immediate effect” as Managing Director of NBET, “as a result of the myriad of complaints against her.” This was widely reported by news media on 24 December 2019.
“ We are unable to discern the motive of the Hon. Minister.However one thing that is crystal clear when viewed against the statutory regime for the regulation of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) is that the actions are wrong and unsupportable under the laws of the land.
“NBET’s Articles of Association show that 4,000,000 of NBET’s shares are held by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (“MOFI”) while 16,000,000 of the shares are held by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (“BPE”).
“Consequently, while MOFI holds 20% of the shares, BPE holds 80% of the shares.
“NBET’s shareholding structure is in line with section 9 of the Electricity Sector Regulatory Act, 2005, which provides that the shares of successor companies after incorporation shall be held jointly in the name of the MOFI and BPE for and on behalf of the FGN.
HURIWA said the Minister of Power is not the chairman of NBET board and queried why he took the laws into his hands.
“NBET’s Amended Memorandum and Articles of Association show that NBET’s Board presently has seven members including a chairman and a vice chairman. Chairman of the Board of NBET is the Minister for Finance.”
“It is pertinent to distinguish NBET from public corporations which are typically established by law or Acts of the National Assembly as government vehicles to enable government to be involved in certain industries.
“Notable examples of such public corporations in Nigeria are Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigerian Film Corporation and Nigerian Mining Corporation.
“A significant feature of these public corporations is that the laws establishing them specifically grant relevant ministers supervisory and regulatory powers over these public corporations.
“There is no law empowering any minister to give directives of any nature to NBET. Further NBET’s Management is not statutorily subject to any duty of complying with any ministerial directive or order.
“Notwithstanding that the Minister is one of its seven Board members of NBET, neither the Act nor NBET’s articles of association empowers the Minister to unilaterally supervise NBET.
“Being a duly registered public limited liability company under CAMA, NBET is subject to the above provisions of CAMA. The powers of NBET’s Board and the individual members of the Board are as provided for in NBET’s articles of association subject to the provisions of CAMA.”
HURIWA said it was unfortunate that the Minister of Power, who is a board member of NBET sidelined the chairman of the agency(the Minister of Finance) to suspend Amobi.