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22 May 2018

$16bn electricity project: Buhari tackles Obasanjo, asks, ‘Where’s the power?’

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday threw a jibe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo for spending $16bn on power projects during his tenure, without corresponding power supply to Nigerians.

Although he did not mention any name, Buhari said “a former Nigerian leader” was bragging at a time that his administration spent the amount on power sector, yet there is nothing to show for the expenditure.

Buhari spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while receiving members of the Buhari Support Organisation led by the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali.

The House of Representatives had, in 2008, described the $16bn spent on power projects by the Obasanjo administration as “a colossal waste.”

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project had also, in 2016, called for an investigation into the expenditure.

On Tuesday, Buhari insisted that past administrations failed to invest in infrastructure in the country.

He gave an indication that no roads were repaired in the country after his days at the Petroleum Trust Fund.

The President said, “You know, more than I do, the condition of roads. Some of them were not repaired since PTF days.

“No matter what opinion you have about (late Gen. Sani) Abacha, I agreed to work with him and the PTF. We constructed roads from here (Abuja) to Port Harcourt, to Onitsha, to Benin and so on.

“This was in addition to other things in education, medical care and so on.

“You know the rail was killed and one of the former Heads of State between that time was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion American dollars, not naira, on power. Where is the power? Where is the power?

“And now, we have to pay the debts. This year and last year’s budgets that I took to the National Assembly were the highest in capital projects: more than $1.3 trn.

“Let anybody come and confront me publicly in the National Assembly. What have they been doing? Some of them have been there for 10 years. What have they been doing?”

Buhari said anybody who claimed to be fighting for the country should not be misappropriating or misapplying the nation’s funds the way some people did.

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