By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has declared that it is not the responsibility of electricity consumers/customers or communities to buy, replace or repair transformers, poles, cables and related items used in supplying power.
This was made known by the Commissioner, Operations of the commission, Mr Adamu Abdullahi, at the opening of the commission’s four-day electricity consumers complaints’ resolution platform, which was sponsored by MacArthur Foundation and attended by many consumers in Benin-city, Edo.
Mr Abdullahi said there were many issues in electricity consumption in Nigeria and frowned at the disconnection of consumers’ lines without notice, outrageous/crazy bills, non-supply of pre-paid meters already paid for, and the disregard for regulations, among other complaints by electricity consumers in the country.
He explained that while the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), an independent regulatory body, has the authority to regulate the electric power industry in the country, FCCPC is to protect consumers throughout Nigeria.
According to him, “Electricity consumers in Nigeria have the right to be properly installed with functional meters. Payment for meters shall not be made if meters are not available. The Meter Asset Provider (MAP) shall install the meters at the premises of the customers within 10 working days of payment.
“Unmetered customers shall not experience any cost increase, beyond what is chargeable to metered customers in the same area. Customers have the right to contest bills and withhold payment of disputed bills.”
On her part, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Mrs Funke Osibodu, insisted that officials of the company were trying their best to make their customers in the franchise states of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti happy by quickly resolving issues.
Mrs Osibodu, who was represented by the company’s Chief State Head for Edo, Mr Abel Enechaziam, stated that she was aware of limited power supply and inadequate metering, which she said should not be blamed on the electricity Distribution Companies (Discos), stressing that BEDC was always ready to listen to the consumers’ complaints with quick actions being taken.
Mrs Osibodu also stressed that there was an inadequate supply of meters by NERC, pointing out that Discos across Nigeria were facing challenges from the generation and transmission of power, but expressed optimism that NERC would soon be able to resolve those hiccups.
Also speaking, a top official of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Mr Akinbadejo Akinleye, while speaking, noted that the agency’s officers were always striving to ensure the maintenance of quality in electricity management in the country.
IPMAN May Halt Fuel Distribution to Sokoto, Kebbi, Others
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Gusau Depot, has threatened to stop transporting petroleum products within Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and parts of Katsina state.
According to the IPMAN’s Zonal Chairman, Mr Yahya Kamba, the threat came following the federal government’s failure to settle its N40 billion outstanding payment to IPMAN members.
According to Mr Kamba, the payment is based on importation and transportation claims of up to 11 months.
He said the federal government has reneged on the agreement reached with the association.
“It is not a subsidy,” Mr Kamba said, explaining that. “It is money that we marketers contributed. We have to pay a certain amount for every litre we purchase from the government. Just for the country to have a uniform pump price.”
“We contributed this money just the way pensioners contribute their own. So, there is no reason anyone can give us to say they have no money. We are asking for our own contribution.
“Our arrangement is for the Ministry to pay us every week; when you transport this product, you are supposed to be paid within a week; but now we are counting months. We have counted up to 11 months. The payment has stopped since June 2021,” he added.
Amid the recent fuel shortage that rocked Abuja, the marketers had claimed that there was no money to buy the product until the federal government pays the claims and also assist in allocating a cargo of AGO to hasten loading from various loading depots.
EFCC Questions Ex-NDDC Boss Nsima Ekere Over N47bn Fraud
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, has been grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The former NDDC boss was at the Lagos office of the agency on Wednesday to honour an invitation to him to answer questions surrounding an alleged fraud to the tune of N47 billion.
In 2016, a year after losing the governorship primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State to Governor Udom Emmanuel, he was appointed as the MD of the commission.
He left office in 2018 to concentrate on his ambition to rule his home state and contested the gubernatorial poll in 2019 under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and lost again to Mr Emmanuel.
In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019 and the report of the exercise, according to the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, said several frauds were uncovered.
The EFCC, reports said, has been trailing Mr Ekere and yesterday, he turned himself in and he was questioned on the allegations of contract inflation and award of fictitious contracts while in office.
This development is coming two days after the anti-money laundering organisation arrested the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, over allegations of diversion of N80 billion.
He was suspended yesterday by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainah Ahmed, to enable a transparent investigation into the matter.
Also, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Etteh, was apprehended on Tuesday by the agency over allegations of diversion of funds for projects.
IPMAN, EFCC Move Against Oil Theft, Vandalism in N’Delta
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has sought the support and intervention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in curbing oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of IPMAN, Mr Bello Binna, during a visit to the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, in his office.
Mr Binna said that the EFCC was the only agency trusted to give solutions on issues of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, IPMAN was more comfortable with what the EFCC is doing to curb
“We are here to collaborate with the Agency with which we are more comfortable, and we believe that with your support, our jobs will have a headway.
“In the past, our efforts have been wasted, we were advised that the agency that has the mandate to make our job effectively is the EFCC,” he said.
Responding, the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, said the EFCC was working tirelessly to put an end to the menace of illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Nwokike also stressed the need to educate youths within the region on the ills of oil theft and illegal oil bunkering.
“I assure you that the EFCC has the desire to reduce, if not bring to an end, the menace of illegal oil bunkering.
“We will educate our youths on the dangers of this, which is part of our mandate, educating our youths on why they must leave these illegalities. We must all come together to see how we can tackle this menace. I want to assure you that we will work together,” he said.
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