A pro-democracy group based in Lagos, National Collective Rescue Mission(NCRM), has slammed the Director General , Bureau of public Enterprises(BPE), Dr Alex Okoh, for allegedly plotting to sell some power project- related national assets to friends and cronies.
The group, which stoutly opposed attempt to put the valuable assets on sale at give away prices, described the modality spelt out for their disposal as laced with corrupt tendencies that tilted towards favouring cronies of the DG of the federal government’s agency.
The affected plants according to NCRM are : Benin Generation Company Limited at Ihovba, Edo State; Calabar Generation Company Limited, Cross River State; Geregu Generation Company Limited, Kogi State; Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited, Ogun State; and Omotosho Generation Company Limited, Ondo State.
To avert frittering away the values of such priceless and highbrow national assets through alleged compromises and corruption-laced moves, the NCRM National Coordinator, Chief Emmanuel Ehibe, appealed to the anti-graft agencies to probe the activities of the BPE in this regard.
Ehibe, in a statement, on Friday, in Lagos, after the quarterly executive meeting of the human rights body, periscoped the activities of the BPE in relation to the proposed sales of the NIPP assets, accusing Okoh of brazenly trampling on the statutorily recognised procedures regarding compliance with the laid down rules on how assets should be disposed off by the National Council on Privatisation.
It could be recalled that Okoh told journalists in Abuja recently that the privatisation of the five power plants was in line with the Bureau’s 2021 workplan as approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), which would be strictly followed.
Okoh disclosed that the five plants slated for privatisation would be disposed off as planned, in line with President Muhhamadu Buhari’s administration’s determination to resuscitate the power plants and put them to full use for the much-needed power needs of the economy.
But Ehibe accused the BPE of circumventing laid down rules and manipulating the process in such a way that the affected plants would be sold at ridiculous salvage value to the bidders.
The Human Rights Activist, said; “Why is the BPE DG, Alex Okoh, in a hurry to sell NIPP assets to his friends? What is Alex Okoh’s interest and relationships with Pacific Energy, Cannaught Energy Services and Lauderhill Tata?
“In-depth investigation conducted by this group, with robust and rocky background to defend the rights of Nigerians indicated that the owners of these firms are known allies of the BPE DG.
“The NPC’s rules of engagements and modus operandi for the sales of national assets forbids the drivers of BPE as an agency of federal government to pervert the procedure in favour of themselves, proxies and cronies.
“Investigation further revealed that the owners of these bidding firms were only plotting to purchase the assets by proxy. We have it on good authority that Okoh has vested and overriding interests in them and this shouldn’t be allowed to stand.
“We call on EFCC and ICPC to investigate our claims and prevent Nigeria from being goaded into another cesspool of corruption.
“Part of why sales of national assets had failed to be successful could be largely hinged on corruption occasioned by buying assets put on sale by those acting as proxies for some of the BPE bigwigs and high echelons of the bureau and this must be discontinued to safeguard Nigeria’s wealth from being plundered by those expected to hold national positions in trust for the citizens”, Ehibe lamented.