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The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of electricity distribution companies in the country, saying there is a need for a substantial change of strategy in order to meet the electricity needs of homes and businesses.

Osibanjo spoke on Thursday at the inauguration of a 2x60MVA, 132/33kV substation and associated 132kV transmission lines at Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He lamented the inability of the Discos to distribute available grid power to consumers.

“The distribution capacity in the 11 Discos are significantly low, hovering at around 4,000 megawatts on average with a peak at about 5,400MW. So, despite all the availability of about 8,000MW of generation and 7,000MW of transmission capacity, the lack of Disco infrastructure to absorb and deliver grid power to end-users has largely restricted generation to an average of about 4,000MW, and sometimes even falling below 4,000MW,” the Vice-President said.

The distribution and generation companies carved out of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria were handed over to private investors on November 1, 2013, following the privatisation of the power sector by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Osinbajo said, “It is evident that despite all the efforts that has been put into trying to expand the grid…the structure of the market today cannot deliver on the government’s promises to provide power for domestic and industrial use.

“A substantial change of strategy is necessary. There is clearly a need for a change of strategy. What we have done in the past has taken us to a point where there is clearly a change of strategy.”

As part of measures to curb insecurity in the state, the Ondo State Government has banned the activities of commercial motorcyclists popularly known as ‘Okadas‘, from the state’s section of the Benin-Ore-Shagamu Expressway.

The government said it took the decision following its observation that some unscrupulous elements were hiding under the guise of engaging in motorcycle business to perpetrate crimes on the expressway.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Donald Ojogo, on Thursday.

According to the statement, the government was disturbed by the activities of the criminal elements which include armed robbery and kidnapping.

Ojogo said, “The Ondo State Government has placed a total ban on commercial motorcycles along the entire stretch of the route in question. This action is with immediate effect and shall suffice until further notice.

“By this development, all activities of commercial motorcyclists are henceforth, restricted to internal confines of Ore town (in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state) and other communities in the area.

“To this end, the government had directed all the security agencies in the state, especially the Nigeria Police, to apprehend anyone who flouted the restriction order.

“The government appeals to the general public to co-operate with the security agencies in the state in the enforcement of this action in order to stem the growing rate of criminal activities along the area,” the government urged.

Abdullahi Babalele, the son-in-law of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, was on Thursday granted bail in the sum of N20 million.

The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos, presided over by Justice Nicholas Oweibo admitted Babalele to bail in the sum of N20million with one surety in like sum.

The judge said the surety must be resident in Lagos and must produce evidence of means through an affidavit.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday arraigned Abdullahi Babalele for allegedly laundering $140,000 in the build-up to the 2019 General Elections.

The All Progressives Congress in Ondo State has declared that the forthcoming governorship election will be an easy ride for the party, saying the government of the ruling party had performed well in the last two and a half years.

This came within 24 hours that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last governorship election, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, declared his intention to recontest against Mr Rotimi Akeredolu in the 2020 election.

The state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Alex Kalejaiye, in a statement on Wednesday, said the people of the state were happy with the APC-led administration.

Kalejaiye stated that, contrary to reports, the party was not factionalised or divided.

According to him, the APC is waxing stronger daily, which will make it difficult for the opposition to overthrow the government in the next year election.

The statement read in part, “The state executive is not factionalised nor disenchanted with a government that has made the party proud, and created an atmosphere of confidence and trust between government and the governed.

“The State Working Committee, for example, is deeply preoccupied with its continuous duty of ensuring, and sustaining oneness and unity of members without prejudice. The SWC has no regard for camps or groups.

“The APC-led government has never slacked in the construction of quality roads, provision of potable water, massive investment in agriculture and the health sector, and creation of industrial hubs in the state.

The ad hoc Welfare Committee set up by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, did not recommend the purchase of Sports Utility Vehicles assembled by local firms as official vehicles for members.

The panel, headed by Senator Abubakar Kyari, was constituted immediately after the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly.

Our Correspondent learnt that the panel allegedly rejected suggestions by some members to patronise local automobile firms.

The committee was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the allocation of offices to members and determine loans for officials’ vehicles and accommodation.

A member of the panel told our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Thursday that the majority of those in the committee argued that they could not guarantee the quality of the vehicles assembled in Nigeria.

The source said, “It was true that we considered suggestions in some quarters to patronise the automobile firms in Nigeria but the fear of their products’ quality, stalled the plans.

“Since the vehicles would be given to members on loans, we should be careful not to purchase vehicles that we may not be able to guarantee their quality and durability.

“There was a time that the House of Representatives purchased ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ cars for their members but we know the complaints that greeted the exercise.

“We want to avoid such situation that is why we settled for the importation of brand new jeeps that would meet the standard and specification of our members who would pay for them from their salaries and allowances.

Another member of the panel, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said arrangements for the purchase of the new vehicles would be concluded before the lawmakers resume on September 24.

It was learnt that the Senate was considering the purchase of Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs for its 109 members at an estimated cost of about N50m each.

The upper chamber would, therefore, require about over N5.5bn for the vehicles including a few additional ones for the Presiding officers.

Details later…

Source: punch.

A community leader under the Daura Emirates, Mohammed Saleh, on Tuesday, told President Muhammadu Buhari that the Emirate only enjoys stable power supply when he is in town.

He said this when the leaders paid Sallah homage to Buhari, who was in his hometown to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir.

Saleh said “Anytime the President is around we enjoy 24 hours power supply. But if he is not around, the power supply is not always stable,” reports Daily Trust.

Saleh was in company with other leaders from the five Local Government Areas in Katsina State, that make up the Daura Emirate when he said this.

Buhari had travelled to Daura on Friday ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir on Sunday. He had hosted the President of Guinea Conakry, Alpha Conde, who celebrated the Eid in Nigeria.

Buhari also hosted All Progressives Congress governors on Tuesday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday arraigned Abdullahi Babalele, said to be a son-in-law of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for allegedly laundering $140,000 in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.

Also, Uyiekpen Osagie-Giwa, said to be Atiku’s lawyer, was separately arraigned for allegedly laundering $2m, in connection with the polls.

Atiku contested against President Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Both Babalele and Osagie-Giwa were arraigned before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo adjourned till Thursday to take their bail applications.

The judge ordered that they be returned to the EFCC custody.

The Ondo State Police Command on Wednesday arraigned the soldier, Sunday Awolola, who allegedly raped a student of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, before a magistrates’ court sitting in Akure, the state capital.

Awolola, a soldier attached to the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigeria Army, allegedly raped the student at a military checkpoint along Ikare Akoko-Akungba Akoko road on July 31, 2019.

At court proceeding, the defence counsel, Mr. Kayode Idowu, asked the court to adjourn the case to enable him to properly study the applications brought before the court by the prosecutor.

The magistrate, Mr. Mayowa Olanipekun, adjourned the matter till Friday, August 16, 2019, to enable the defence counsel study the applications.

Billionaire businesswoman and one of the richest women in Africa, Mrs. Folorunso Alakija, has identified a fake Instagram account created in her name.

The 68-year-old fashion designer-turned oil mogul raised alarm on the fake account in a tweet on Thursday.

The fake account named alakija_official asked an Instagram user to ‘sow a seed into a motherless baby home’, adding a phone number for the user to contact within three days.

In the tweet on Thursday, Mrs Alakija said: “This is my ‘official account’ @ALAKIJAOFFICIAL. Note that, my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts are VERIFIED. Please report all fraud accounts to the social media services that you come across. Thank you for your support and God bless you. Have a productive day, everyday!”

Alakija, as a prolific businesswoman, is involved in the oil, fashion and printing industries.

She is vice-chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company with a stake in Agbami Oilfield.

In 2014, she temporarily unseated Oprah Winfrey as the richest woman of African descent in the world.

Her Rose of Sharon Foundation helps widows and orphans by empowering them through scholarships and business grants.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday met with the Joe Kaeser, the president of German technology firm, Siemens AG.

The meeting is in furtherance of the partnership between Nigeria and Germany to help the West African country with its electricity needs.

The meeting is a result of an earlier meeting Mr Buhari held with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel on August 31, 2018.

My challenge to Siemens, our partner investors in the Distribution Companies, the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Electricity Regulator is to work hard to achieve 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by 2021 and 11,000 megawatts by 2023 – in phases 1 and 2 respectively,” Mr Buhari told his guest.

Details of the president’s speech was sent to PREMIUM TIMES by his office.

Read the full speech by Mr Buhari below.

Thank you all for coming today and for the roles you have all played in planning what we hope will be a significant project to dramatically improve the quality of our electricity supply.

2. I recall my meeting in late August, last year, with Chancellor Merkel here in Abuja, when both our Governments committed to future cooperation to support economic growth and development in Nigeria. We were clear that fixing the power sector was a key priority for this administration.

3. It was during that event that Mr Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG committed to working with Nigeria to develop a feasible roadmap to modernise our electricity grid with support from the German Government.

4. We all know how critical electricity is to the development of any community or indeed any nation. And in Nigeria, whilst we are blessed to have significant natural gas, hydro and solar resources for power generation, we are still on the journey to achieving reliable, affordable and quality electricity supply necessary for economic growth, industrialization and poverty alleviation.

5. Ladies and Gentlemen, there have been many attempts at solving the electricity problem in our country. Previous Governments have explored State-funded solutions through the ill-prepared National Independent Power Projects. They also explored the installation of large emergency power projects. There was also the partial privatisation of the power generation and distribution sectors.

6. These various interventions to solving the electricity problem have yielded an imbalance between the amount of power generated and the amount available for consumers. Despite over 13,000 megawatts of power generation capacity, only an average of 4,000 megawatts reliably reaches consumers.

7. Now, we have an excellent opportunity to address this challenge.

8. This Government’s priority was to stabilise the power generation and gas supply sector through the Payment Assurance Facility, which led to a peak power supply of 5,222 MW. Nonetheless, the constraints remained at the transmission and distribution systems.

9. This is why I directed my team to ask Siemens and our Nigerian stakeholders to first focus on fixing the transmission and distribution infrastructure – especially around economic centres where jobs are created.

10. Whilst it was evident that more needed to be done to upgrade the sub-transmission and distribution system, our Government was initially reluctant to intervene as the distribution sector is already privatised.

11. I am therefore very pleased with the positive feedback from private sector owners of the distribution companies, who have all endorsed Government’s intervention to engage Siemens on this end-to-end plan to modernise the electricity grid.

12. Our goal is simply to deliver electricity to Nigerian businesses and homes. My challenge to Siemens, our partner investors in the Distribution Companies, the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Electricity Regulator is to work hard to achieve 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by 2021 and 11,000 megawatts by 2023 – in phases 1 and 2 respectively.

13. After these transmission and distribution system bottlenecks have been fixed, we will seek – in the third and final phase – to drive generation capacity and overall grid capacity to 25,000 megawatts.

14. With our strong commitment to the development of Mambilla Hydroelectric and the various solar projects under development across the country, the long-term power generation capacity will ensure adequate energy mix and sustainability in the appropriate balance between urban and rural electrification.

15. Our intention is to ensure that our cooperation is structured under a Government-to-Government framework. No middlemen will be involved, so that we can achieve value for money for Nigerians. We also insist that all products be manufactured to high quality German and European standards and competitively priced.

16. This project will not be the solution to ALL our problems in the power sector. However, I am confident that it has the potential to address a significant amount of the challenges we have faced for decades.

17. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is our hope that as the power situation improves, we will improve investor confidence, create jobs, reduce the cost of doing business and encourage more economic growth in Nigeria.

18. I thank you for coming today, particularly those of you who have had to come from outside Nigeria. I wish you all safe stay in Abuja and safe journeys back home.

19. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria