THE Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has accused the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Egbin Power Plant, Mr Dallas Peavey, of staying in Nigeria without a valid visa and that he has directed the Nigeria Immigration Service to take appropriate action.
Speaking at a quarterly meeting of power sector stakeholders in Lagos on Monday, Fashola accused Peavey of acting against the interest of Nigeria when he told some visiting United States Senators recently that the Federal Government was owing his company N125 billion.
According to him, “I advised that we should all be factual in our public comments and refrain from being bombastic. We must promote hope and not project fear to people who entrust us with the responsibility to solve their problems.
“It seems that Mr Peavey did not hear me, or chose to ignore my admonition. While we do not know why Mr Peavey is acting contrary to our national interest, we also know that he has been in and out of Nigeria and came in on 17th August 2017 without a record of visa issuance on arrival.
“I have directed that his matter be referred to the Immigration Department for advice on his legal status vis-à-vis a valid visa and work permit. I expect that appropriate action will be taken.
“Let me say to Mr Peavey and other non-Nigerians that your partnership is welcome, your stay will be peaceful and your rights to free speech are guaranteed. But other laws must be respected because we will enforce them.”
Fashola said based on Mr Peavey’s views that debts owed to power generation and distribution companies would lead to a collapse of the power system, “I admonished all operators in the sector, to act in a manner consistent with their leadership role and the public expectation of all of us, to find solutions to problems, project hope, and not fear.”
Furthermore, he stated that Mr Peavey did not tell his visitors how that N125 billion was made up.
“He did not also tell them that MDA debts owed to Discos had been verified and instead of claims in excess of N90 billion submitted as owed by the Federal Government, only about N27 billion has been established by verification.
“He did not tell his visitors that resolution of debts are topical views of our agenda at these monthly meetings and minutes of our discussions as recently as the last meeting in Kano on August 14, 2017 are kept.
“He did not tell his visitors that government has approved a payment assurance guarantee for all power produced to the grid and that some payments have been made and others are being processed as reported at the Kano meeting and the Abuja meeting in July 2017.
“He did not tell his visitors that his company either knew of these debts when his employers bought the plant or failed to do the due diligence that will have disclosed it to them.
Fashola concluded by saying it was true that “there was a time in our recent past that only Americans would know if there was a problem in Nigeria. That time has passed.”