The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has denied claims that he once said a serious government in the country could fix power problems within six months.
Mr Fashola, who denied the claim at the Nextier Power Dialogue on Wednesday night in Abuja, challenged participants at the dialogue and members of the public to produce any video evidence where he made such comment.
He, however, explained that the comment was made during the inauguration of the Lekki Independent Power Project when he was governor of Lagos State.
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The minister added that his statement had to do with the connection of residents of Lekki to the IPP within six months if the state government had received the approval to do so.
While asking Nigerians not to blame the federal government for dearth of electricity in their homes, Mr Fashola pointed out that the country’s power sector had been privatised and largely not under the control of the federal government.
He added that the problem was not that of the government if citizens in the country do not have electricity.
“There are problems without a doubt and we must deal with them. But let me remind you; all of the assets that the ministry of power used to control for power have been sold by the last administration before I came. And so, if you don’t have power, it is not the government’s problem. Let us be honest,” Mr Fashola said.
“The people who are operating the power sector -generation and distribution, are now privately-owned companies. I am here because I am concerned. If your telephone is not working, it is not the minister of communication that you go to. Let us be very clear.”
Mr Fashola, further explained: “So, for those of you who want to weaponise electricity, face the businessmen who have taken it up. Let us be honest: If your bank over-charges you interest, is it the minister of finance you go to? So, let’s be clear. This is now a private business by an Act of parliament 2005.”
His role as minister, he said, was not to run the power systems but proffer policy directions, among others.
He said: “My role is regulatory oversight and policy, but I have a problem which is the fact that I can’t see a problem and turn my back, so I’m getting involved. So, the people you should be talking to about transformers is not me; the ministry doesn’t supply transformers anymore.”