Do we smell a scandal? FG sacks Bolanle Onogoruwa, DG BPE

The Federal Government has relieved the Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) Mrs. Bolanle Onogoruwa of her appointment with immediate effect.

In a two paragraph statement by the Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the Vice President, Umar Sani, she was ordered to hand over to the most Senior Director in the Bureau, Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki who is to hold the position in an acting capacity.

“Mr. President extends his sincere appreciation to Mrs. Bolanle Onogoruwa for her services to the nation and wishes her the best in her future endeavors”, Sani said.

Though the statement was silent on why she was sacked, her removal may not be unconnected with the controversy that trailed Manitoba Hydro Electric handling the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

On November 21, the BPE had validated the power-management contract signed by Canada’s Manitoba Hydro Electric Board in July to run the state-owned power utility TCN after regulatory approval.

BPE by laws certified all contracts entered into by the government.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, had on November 14th announced the cancellation of the contract saying the correct procedure wasn’t followed.

But President Jonathan had on his last media chat for the year on November18th on Manitoba said the deal “did not follow the law strictly” and initial report of the termination was a “misunderstanding”.

The President had said at the media chat, “Manitoba contract has not been revoked. There were some issues raised due to misunderstanding. In 2006, when it all started, Manitoba and others bid. As at that time, it was the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) that handled the whole exercise.  There was confusion and they placed procurement on Manitoba as a consultant to manage our transmission. But with the law we have now, the due process law, it has painted that procurement differently. It was just concluded as a process of privatisation, but did not follow the law strictly. Every country must keep to its law.

“We saw some loopholes that were not properly done and we say look, we should do it properly so that if we leave, after few years, nobody will come and ask questions. We believe that we should rectify what was not properly done, therefore give the relevant section of government up till next Tuesday (November 20th) to get all things sorted out, so that if it requires my authorisation, l can do it. Let me assure you that we did not cancel the Manitoba contract”).

The government is selling majority stakes in power plants and letting private investors buy as much as 60 percent of 11 distribution companies spun out of the former state-owned utility as it seeks private investment to curb power shortages.


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