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Government suspends REA boss over alleged violations

Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi, Managing Director, REA
  • Sacks NBET Managing Director 

Alexander Davis

For “apparent infractions” committed in the agency, the Federal Government of Nigeria Tuesday, December 24, 2019, announced that it has asked Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi, Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to proceed on an indefinite suspension.

The government also has announced the sack of the Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), Dr. Marilyn Amobi, and subsequently set up a five-man team to investigate complaints against her leadership at the NBET.

Mr. Aaron Artimas, Media Adviser to Mr. Sale Mamman, the Honourable Minister for Power, in a statement, said the suspension and sack of both officials were done to reposition the operations of the agencies they previously headed.

“Following some apparent infractions in the Rural Electrification Agency, the Honourable Minister for Power, Sale Mamman, has directed the Managing Director of the agency, Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi, to proceed on indefinite suspension with immediate effect,” the statement read.

“Ms. Ogunbiyi is to hand over to the next most senior officer in the agency. Consequently, the Minister has directed an immediate investigation into the activities of the agency towards repositioning it for better service delivery.”

ConsumerConnect sources disclosed that the Rural Electrification Agency has been allegedly involved in corrupt cases of contract manipulation, inefficient project development and deliveries as well as frequent management squabbles.

Late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2009 was said to have ordered that the agency be wound up over its alleged failure to live up to its mandate and corrupt practices linked to its award of contracts.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Ms. Ogunbiyi in 2017 to cleanup and revive the agency.

She subsequently attracted private and multilateral investors, including the World Bank to the agency and embarked on electrification projects, some of which were opposed by Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) for allegedly encroaching on their distribution networks.

The statement also clarified that Amobi was fired “in continuation of the re-organisation/sanitation in the Federal Ministry of Power.”

Mamman “directed the Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company to step down with immediate effect,” the statement said.

“In view of this, the Minister had also directed the constitution of a five-man investigative committee to look into the myriads of complaints against the MD/CEO with a view to restoring sanity in the Management of the company.

“Consequently, she is to handover to the most senior director in the organisation,” it added.

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