The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has raised alarm over an attempt by the Vice president of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo’s economic team’s plan to weaken the economy of the Northern region through his team’s recently approved privitisation plans of five power plants.
The Coalition had specifically asked the vice president, who is the Chairman of the National Economic Council, the National Council on Privatization (NCP) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to halt all processes aimed at privatizing the Calabar, Ihovbor, Olorunsogo, Omotosho and Geregu power plants.
While Addressing journalists in Abuja, spokesman of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, who described the plans as “most dubious, unreasonable and unacceptable act of injustice” against northerners, requested that leaders of the region raise alarm over the move.
He said, “The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has taken note of the latest plan to further diminish the economic viability of the northern region by powerful interests in the South by taking advantage of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo’s position as Chairman of the National Economic Council, the National Council on Privatization (NCP) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
“We urge all critical stakeholders and the northern public to raise their voices in the defense of northern interest against this round of fresh scheme by those who have made it a duty to ensure that the North remains backwards by undermining its economic and social fabrics to stimulate and encourage rampant poverty, and social problems under various guises including this one.”
Suleiman added that the north would go to any length to challenge the continuation of the proposed sale.
He said, “The assets under consideration do not belong exclusively to the Federal Government but the three tiers of government. Today, the shareholding of NDPHC is held by the Federal 47%, States and the Local Governments collectively 53%.
“The current privatization plot, therefore, reneges on the initial understanding that after certain years of piloting the projects in Southern Nigeria, the assets were to be sold and the proceeds reinvested in setting up hydro generation assets in parts of northern Nigerian states for a similar length of time.
“Against the backdrop of these concerns and observations, the CNG does not wish to remain silent or passive and allow things that affect the North and potentially cause greater economic instability in the country to continue unchecked.
“Having studied and carefully considered the above scenario, CNG is hereby convinced that the current privatization move is part of the several schemes to cripple the North economically by shortchanging it in the NDPHC project in which it is a major stakeholder.
“Therefore, we resolve as follows: to categorically declare that this move, and indeed any other move that expressly or impliedly seek to undermine the Northern economy by deliberately reneging on mutually agreed terms stand unacceptable, and shall be vehemently resisted.
“We demand an immediate and unconditional discontinuation of this or any subsequent move to privatise the said assets. We also demand an immediate and complete observance of the initial agreement to revolve the power generation projects to the North.
“We categorically declare that the North would go to any length to challenge the continuance of this dubious plan without involving the region in the discourse to determine, in the context of the applicable policy, legal and regulatory framework, the appropriate legal framework or legislation under which the transactions will be implemented.
“We place all northern state governments in particular on notice that the North will hold them responsible for the extent of their complicity if they attempt to remain silent in the wake of this glaring dubious attempt to shortchange the region by swindling it out of a legitimate shareholding benefit that is now due.
“We welcome the foresight of the Federal House of Representatives in convoking of a public hearing on the matter which we hope would consider the applicability of the framework to NDPHC, the subsidiary generation companies and or NIPP, of the FGN laws relating to procurement or disposal of shares and assets by government or its agencies, given the shareholding of the States and Local Governments.
“The CNG also urge all critical stakeholders and the northern public to raise their voices in the defense of northern interest against this round of fresh scheme by those who have made it a duty to ensure that the North remains backward by undermining its economic and social fabrics to stimulate and encourage rampant poverty, and social problems under various guises including this one.
“We finally remind our elected representatives at all levels that in the fullness of time, they will be called to account for their neglect to stand up and speak out for the truth in this circumstance,” he added.