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Senate Launches Probe On 700MW Zungeru Power Plant Concessioning



The Nigerian Senate yesterday directed the Committee on Power to investigate the circumstances and conditions under which the 700MW Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant, ZHPP in Niger State is being concessioned

The Senate particularly questions the utilization of the annual budgetary allocations made to the project

It will also look at the completion level, and the management of external loans from the Chinese Exim Bank, which is tied to the project.

The committee is also to look into the fate of unsettled host communities where the project is sited, the adequacy or otherwise, of selection criteria for the concessionaire and to generally establish whether the proposed concession of ZHPP is an exercise that would ensure that government get the deserved value for funds expended on the project.

Similarly, the upper legislative chamber urged the National Council on Privatisation, NCP and it’s Secretariat, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE and other ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs concerned to suspend indefinitely, the proposed concession pending the conclusion of investigation by its committee and consequent adoption based on the findings and recommendations.

These resolutions were sequel to a motion on the “Need for Senate intervention in the ongoing bid to concession the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant in Niger State” sponsored by Senators Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North East) and Yahaya Abdullahi (PDP Kebbi North) during plenary.

Leading debate on the motion, Senator Abdullahi said the 700MW ZHPP, which is considered to the second largest hydroelectric power plant in Nigeria after Kainji Hydroelectric Power Station, also in Niger State, “was originally awarded in 2013 in the sum of $1.3billion.”

He noted that apart from the huge loan secured by the federal government from the Chinese Exim Bank to fund the construction of ZHPP, the National Assembly has approved billions of naira annually through its budgetary appropriation powers towards the completion of the project.

Specifically, the former Senate Leader disclosed that “over N43billion was allocated to the ZHPP under the 2022 Appropriation Act and another N76.5billion is being proposed by the executive in the 2023 budget.”

According to him, the project was expected to have been completed within 60 months from the date of execution of the contract in 2013, noting however, that several factors have threatened the speedy completion of the project.

He further stated that “the NCP and BPE, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Power had in compliance with the provisions of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission,. ICRC invited interested investors to participate in a two-stage process that would lead to the selection of a concessionaire that would operate, maintain and manage the ZHPP for a minimum of 30 years.”

Senator Abdullahi added that the Invitation for Submission of Request for Qualification, RFQ, was published in the media on October 27, 2022 while a road show was also organised to further create awareness on the exercise.

Contributing, Senators Sani Musa (APC Niger East), Sadiq Umar (APC Kwara North), Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North) and Yusuf A. Yusuf (APC Taraba Central) all queried the rush to concession the ZHPP after huge funding by the federal government and when the project is yet to be completed, and therefore kicked against the proposed concession.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan declared that the upper legislative chamber was not in support of the concession, warning that “if anyone approves it, we will reverse it, because Senate is totally against it. Therefore, the NCP and BPE should suspend it.”

He wondered why concessioning or privatisation always happening in the power sector, despite billions of naira being spent by the federal government.

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PDP Crisis: Ortom, Fayose, Anyim, Others Get Soft Landing



…..Party Rescinds Sanctions

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rescinded sanctions slammed on former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and ex-Senate President, Pius Anyim, over alleged anti-party activities.

Benue Governor Samuel Ortom, Ibrahim Shema of Kastina state and other party Chieftains also sanctioned got soft landings after a crucial meeting of the national working committee of the party yesterday in Abuja

Recall that the party top shots were suspended by the embattled Iyorchia Ayu leadership over alleged anti party activities

But in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, yesterday Thursday, March 30, the party announced that its National Working Committee,NWC, has reversed the suspension of the party’s chieftains.

Ologunagba noted that the PDP NWC also reversed Governor Ortom’s referral to the party’s disciplinary committee.

He said: “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at its meeting today, Thursday, March 30, 2023, extensively discussed recent developments in the party.

“The NWC recognised the imperativeness of a total reconciliation among party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive Party in the overall interest of our teeming members and Nigerians in general.

“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee.

“The NWC in the same vein reverses the suspension of the following members of our great party: H.E Ibrahim Shema (Katsina State); Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State); Sen. Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State); Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State); Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State).

“This decision is without prejudice to the powers of the NWC to take necessary disciplinary action against any member of the party at any time pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).

“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity, and harmony in our party at this critical time.

“The PDP must remain focused as we continue to take every necessary action to recover the stolen mandate freely given by Nigerians to our party and presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal,” the PDP spokesperson stated.

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DSS ING Alarm:Legal Means Can Be Deployed To Stop Tinubu’s Inauguration- HURIWA



Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), yesterday said there was nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop the inauguration of the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023 because the February 25, 2023 election that produced him is still being actively challenged in court by leading candidates in the poll.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the so-called alarm raised by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday that some politicians are plotting an interim government should not be used as an obstacle to stop the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) challenging Tinubu’s Victory

The DSS warning followed a petition by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo that the DSS should invite Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, over their rejection of Tinubu as the President-Elect.

Similarly, Atiku had earlier in March led a protest to the Abuja office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject the result of the February 25 poll declared by the electoral umpire.

Both Atiku and Obi alleged electoral malpractices in the poll and are in court to challenge the declaration of Tinubu as President-Elect by INEC.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The Department of State Services should not rope in powerful opposition forces such as Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar with a view to finding some frivolous charges to hang on their necks to frustrate their formidable petitions against the outcome of the February 25 presidential poll.

“The DSS must work for all of Nigeria and not work as errand boys of Tinubu and his allies who only recently made claims that some persons want to stop his swearing in. By the way, there is nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop his inauguration because the election is being actively challenged. Nothing should be used as obstacles to obstruct Obi and Atiku’s petitions.

He advised that ,“The DSS should go after arm smugglers, kidnappers, bandits and terrorists and leave politicking for politicians.”

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Edo NUJ Felicitates Arase Over Appointment As Chairman PSC



The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council has felicitated with Solomon Arase, a retired Inspector General of Police on his appointment as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

In a statement signed by the union Chairman, Comrade Festus Alenkhe, the union described the appointment as well deserved.

The union expressed optimism that Arase will bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment to his father land.

The union prayed God Almighty to grant him the knowledge and wisdom to reposition the Police Service Commission for better service delivery.

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