Nigeria may lose N20 trillion to corruption in the power sector in the next 10 years if urgent steps are not taken to check the rate of government funding.
An electricity law expert and lecturer at the University of Lagos, Yemi Oke, stated this yesterday in a 64-page report presented in Lagos, adding that the expected loss in revenue was coming amidst dwindling fortune and recurrent revenue shortfalls.
The report titled: "From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector Agenda," was released by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in collaboration with the Mac Arthur Foundation.
It detailed findings in the power sector, which were dashing Nigerians' hope of efficient and regular power supply. Stressing the importance of energy to the economy, Oke, who authored the report, said the total financial loss to corruption in the sector since the return of democracy in 1999 was over N11 trillion, representing public funds, private equity and social investment or divestment in the power sector.
He lamented that the Federal Government did not earn money from the power sector privatisation as its assets were sold to cronies and politically exposed persons who could not make impact in the sector.
Nigerians, he said, would continue to grope in darkness with more fund and increased tariff because of corruption aided by lack of effective monitoring and supervision, as well as the top-down model of electricity governance in the country.
He added that institutional decay and the corruption by sector officials and other stakeholders in the power sector, coupled with the current structural arrangement and institutional impropriety, among others, would continue to undermine the sector.
Oke, therefore, stressed that there was the need for the Federal Government to revisit the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) scandal to send strong signals that corruption in the power sector would no longer be tolerated.
Speaking, Femi Falana, who chaired the occasion, challenged the 36 states to stop going to Abuja to get licences to generate electricity in their domains.
He described the report as a must reading for all Nigerians, saying it is very revealing and provoking that Nigerians were victims of darkness caused by corruption in the power sector.
Falana, therefore, urged the Lagos State government to lead the battle to take the management of power from Abuja.
Executive Director of SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the idea of the report supported by Mac Arthur Foundation was premised on the many effects of corruption in the power sector on ordinary Nigerians who are forced to generate their own electricity and the crazy bills phenomenon.