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Monday, 24 October 2011


When in April 2011 President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was declared by the Professor Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the hotly contested Presidential election, he (Jonathan) made a solemn pledge to the electorate.

Smiling broadly, accompanied by his lovely wife Mrs. Patience Jonathan and other close Presidential aides including Mr. Oronto Douglas, President Jonathan made a solemn pledge to Nigerians to introduce a new order and a transformational agenda targeted at building a better, prosperous and transparent society for all Nigerians.

Embedded inherently in the President Jonathan’s transformational agenda is the resolve to appoint some of the best professionals into government at the highest level.

As one of his critics, I do agree that the current federal administration has a long way to go to achieve zero-tolerance to corruption and wipe out poverty among the largest population of Nigerians, but one thing even some of us will agree is that President Jonathan has tried as much as possible to actualize an aspect of his solemn pledge which is the appointment of brave, courageous, credible and trusted statesmen and patriots into key federal positions.

Some of these persons of integrity in the current administration included Professor Barth Nnaji, the power ministry minister; Professor Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the minister of Finance; Dr. Sam Amadi, the Harvard, United States-trained human rights advocate appointed to head the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

In the federal ministry of Justice, the President retained the services of Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria as the Federal Attorney General. Mr. Adoke in his first coming in the immediate aftermath of the demise of the immediate past President [Umaru Yar’adua] and the assumption of office by Jonathan as President attracted some kind of controversy because of certain decisions he took including the circumstances surrounding the lack of prosecution of some persons and institutions connected with the Haliburton Bribery Scandal. Such giant multinational firms like Julius Berger were not prosecuted.

In his second coming, Mr.Adoke in spite of continuous criticism by some online bloggers like sahahareporters and other die hard critics including yours faithfully, has indeed implemented measures to transform the ministry of Justice and is doing so much in the area of speedy and quality dispensation of Justice and prison decongestion.

Adoke facilitated the review of the 1961 standing orders of the Nigerian prisons service by the introduction of a new prison standing order which will guarantee the protection of the rights of any one in lawful custody in any detention facility in Nigeria.

Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Justice and Chairman of the Federal Justice Sector Reform Committee, FJSRCC, Mr. Abdullahi Yola, stated that the Revised Standing Order which is at the final stage of adoption by all relevant stakeholders, is a major step in making the Nigeria Justice Delivery System respond to changing trends and above all increase Access to Justice. He added that “the new Standing Order, which will replace that, made in 1961 and currently in force, is compliant with International Conventions on Human Rights and the United Nations Minimum Standard Rules. The Revised Standing Order was put together by a select team of persons from relevant Justice Sector Institutions, The Nigeria Prisons and Civil society organizations.

Another agency of government where better things are happening and looking good is the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission where Dr. Sam Amadi is showing extremely good leadership qualities in public service.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently waded into the ill-advised decision of the Power Holden Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to effect load shedding of Power electricity supply without following the due process of the law. The decision of NERC to issue queries to five Power Holden Company of Nigeria is the first of its kind and is symbolic of the new order of public service by the current federal administration.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) warned its licensees that massive load shedding of their customers without approval from it violates the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005 and that appropriate sanctions will henceforth be meted on erring organization.

This warning came on the heels of load shedding of 1,400mega watts that started recently involving five power plants. The load shedding that will last seven days is said to be without the Commission’s approval.

A letter dispatched to Chief Executive Officer of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), The Executive Director, System Operator (SO), Transmission Company of Nigerian and chief executive officers of Geregu, Sapele, Ughelli, Olorunsogo, and Omotosho Power Plants warned of the grave consequences of their actions.

The Commission told the affected officers to explain why they are operating in contempt of the Act, the Grid Codes that governs the national grid and the Market Rules that guides Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). The Rules stipulate that massive load shedding require the Commission’s permission.

Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, in the letter says, “While we are not opposed to the maintenance work on gas facilities or PHCN generating and transmitting stations, the Commission will not allow the flagrant violation of due process and procedures especially as it relates to disruption of power supply to Nigerians. 

“You are to note that henceforth appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against all licensees and their management for any violation of the Grid Code and Market Rules particularly the need for submission of outage and maintenance plans.

“For avoidance of doubt, in the event of a planned outage in the future you must get approval from NERC, the only regulator of the sector,” the Commission warned.

The Commission‘s tough stance on the management of the affected power plants and PHCN was as a result of their failure to secure statutory approval for the plant shut down occasioned by the decision of the gas suppliers- the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) to carry out repairs on its systems.

The affected power plants and management of PHCN had earlier announced they will shut down their plants for seven days beginning from Tuesday, October 11, 2011.

Besides, Dr. Sam Amadi is showing good example to other agencies on the necessity of paying their taxes promptly even as his management has provided evidence to show that it is current with auditing standards and compliance.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on October 19th 2011 disclosed that it has remitted N360 million to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as value added and withholding taxes collected on behalf of the Service between 2006 and 2010.

Amadi gave a breakdown of the amount remitted during the period under review as N206.7 million as withholding tax and N153.6 million as value added tax. He said that the Commission was aware of the need to guard its integrity jealously as the most valuable asset of any regulator. A regulator should comply with reporting obligations especially as they relate to the integrity of public finance.

Tax remittance is a key component of public finance audit.

He said that the Commission was up-to-date in its statutory reporting obligations, including quarterly reports to the National Assembly and the Presidency. “We are guided by higher commitment to public integrity,” Amadi said. 

Nigeria will be good if good people implement good policies while in government.

*          Emmanuel Onwubiko heads Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria and can be reached on;;


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