Lagos – A non-governmental organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has endorsed the reported probe of the $16 billion power project under former President Olusegun Obasanjo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The group said failure to carry out the probe earlier meant that Nigerians had long been denied justice.
SERAP noted that the move by the anti-graft agency would demonstrate that former heads of state and other high-ranking public officials were not immune from investigation and prosecution for allegations of corruption in Nigeria.
“This probe is something which SERAP has consistently called for. Nigerians have for far too long been denied justice and the opportunity to get to the bottom of why they continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector–staying in darkness, but still made to pay crazy electricity bills,” SERAP said.
According to reports, the EFCC has begun the probe of the $16 billion power project of the administration of former President Obasanjo.
While some put the exact cost of the project at $16 billion, others said it was $13.8 billion.
Key contractors and about 18 top public officers allegedly involved in the power project scam during the Obasanjo administration, and those of former Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, may also be arrested.
In a statement signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The probe is timely, especially coming at a time of citizens’ frustrations at persistent allegations of corruption and the impacts on their human rights.
“Investigating allegations of grand corruption and prosecuting former heads of state and other high-ranking officials where such allegations show relevant and sufficient admissible evidence would address the grave travesty that has for many years occurred in the power sector.
“The EFCC should urgently invite anyone suspected to be involved for questioning. The agency should also expand the probe to cover the alleged squandering of a total of N11 trillion in the power sector between 1999 and 2015, and the unresolved case of the reported missing $12.4 billion oil windfall, allegedly spent between 1988 and 1993 by the government of former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida.”
The group added: “The EFCC has the full support of Nigerians in its efforts to hold high-ranking public officials to account for grand corruption, and if consistently, fairly and diligently pursued, this probe would contribute to ending impunity for corruption, and to mobilising and encouraging youth civic engagement in the anti-graft fight in the country. SERAP stands ready to work with the EFCC in pursuing all allegations of grand corruption.”
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