- REA MD, Ogunbiyi suspended
The Managing Director/CEO of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), Dr. Marilyn Amobi, has been sacked by the Federal Government.
The Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman yesterday directed she should step down, citing ‘’reorganisation and sanitation’’ as reasons for her sack.
In a statement by the Minister’s spokesman, Aaron Artimas also posted on the ministry’s Twitter handle, the minister said the actions were in continuation of the re-organisation and sanitation in the ministry.
For the NBET, it said: “In view of this, the minister has also directed the Constitution of a 5-man investigative committee to look into the myriads of complaints against the MD/CEO (of NBET) with the view of restoring sanity in the management of the company.
“Consequently, she is to handover to the most senior director in the organisation,” the statement noted.
NBET was incorporated on July 29, 2010 and serves as a special purpose vehicle to buy electricity from the Generation Companies (GenCos) through the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and sell to the Distribution Companies (DisCos) through vesting contracts.
It is completely under the power sector with a license from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to operate. However, due its financial intervention role, the Chairperson of the board has remained the Minister of Finance.
Dr. Amobi assumed office in August 2016 and ought to have five year tenure. She is the second head of the intermediary utility firm after the pioneer head, Mr. Rumundaka Wonodi, left after spending over five years. In October 2019, Daily Trust exclusively investigated stalemate at NBET after Amobi defied the power ministry to sack officials over unfounded issued.
The ministry raised a committee in 2018 and recommendations were made including the reinstatement of two senior staff of the agency after she “unilaterally” sanctioned them. But over 18 months after, she refused and has not allowed them access to their offices since then.
Similarly, on November 25, 2019, Daily Trust again exclusively investigated ‘Padding’ scandal at NBET under Amobi over questionable budgetary allocations software and rent, among others.
When asked to respond, Amobi’s corporate communication office said there was approval for the projects, one of which is software procured for nearly N1 billion.
Daily Trust had recently reported Dr Joy Ogaji, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) who raised the alarm over Amobi’s scheme of pressuring CEOs of GenCos to sign that she (NBET) will take over payment of gas supply from the private companies at a 0.75 percent fee.
APGC said it was illegal and refused this but Amobi was said to have threatened to cut payment of their month energy invoice if they fail to agree.
She had also said it was a condition precedent for GenCos to access a fresh N600 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) (yet to commence) meant to offset gas debt and improve power generation. Last week, some aggrieved staff told this paper how the embattled NBET boss assaulted some of them and turned operatives of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) on them.
REA MD, Ogunbiyi suspended
The minister also directed the immediate and indefinite suspension of the Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Damilola Ogunbiyi over some apparent infractions.
Ogunbiyi is to hand over to the next most senior officer in the Agency.
Mamman also directed an immediate investigation into the activities of the REA towards repositioning it for better service delivery.
Ogunbiyi occupies a tripartite since she was brought in under former minister, Babatunde Fashola.
She was the coordinator of the former minister’s pet work, Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), the Senior Adviser in the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Power, and the MD of REA.
There are also complaints of high costed project contracts at the agency.