‘He’s evading questions’ — reps panel summons NBET MD over Azura deal

‘He’s evading questions’ — reps panel summons NBET MD over Azura deal
October 24
19:32 2022

The house of representatives committee on finance has summoned Nnaemeka Ewelukwa, managing director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET), over issues relating to the Azura deal.

James Faleke, chairman of the committee, issued the summon on Monday following Ewelukwa’s failure to appear before the committee to defend the agency’s 2023 budget.

Representing the managing director at the committee’s hearing, Abba Aliu, NBET’s general manager, corporate services, told the lawmakers that his principal started his official leave on Friday, hence his absence from the budget defence.

Dissatisfied with Aliu’s comment, Faleke said Ewelukwa received the committee’s invitation last Wednesday, but proceeded on leave to avoid answering questions bothering on the deal with Azura and Arco Gas entered into by NBET on behalf of the federal government.


“He started the leave on Friday when he received our letter on the 19th,” Faleke said.

“So he thinks to come and defend the budget is not important for him – just to take a date to defend the budget and go.”

Also commenting on the matter, Abdullahi Saidu, deputy chairman of the committee, said the excuse was not tenable.


Saidu accused him of not placing “much importance” to the budget defence, hence the reason he went on leave without first appearing before the committee.

“I don’t think this excuse is tenable. Chairman, you would recall that we received the budget from Mr. President on a Friday which is not our parliamentary day, but to underscore the importance of this particular exercise, we all turned up in numbers to receive the budget from the president,” he said.

“In this case, we wrote a letter to the commission and I am sure the MD did receive the letter before he proceeded to his leave.

“So, if he attaches so much importance to what we are doing, he would have excluded himself for just one day to be here.


“More importantly, because of item number five on the letter. We must insist that the MD of NBET appears even if it is for a day. He must appear to defend the budget before we pass the budget.”

On her part, Taiwo Oluga, a lawmaker of Osun, said Ewelukwa had previously avoided the committee.

“I think the MD is trying to avoid the parliament. This is not the first time to be on record that the MD would be avoiding this committee,” she said.

“We should wait until the MD is available to address this committee and to address the country as a whole because there are sensitive issues that he needs to talk to us about. So, avoiding the parliament will not help the issue.”


Therefore, in his ruling, Faleke summoned Ewelukwa to appear before the panel on Thursday.

“He saw our letter and decided to go on leave because of item five – the issue of Azura and Arco Gas. He cannot plunge this country into this kind of debt and run away. He must come here and face us,” Faleke ruled.


“In line with the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, we hereby summon the managing director of NBET to appear before this committee on Thursday, unfailingly.”

TheCable had reported how the lawmakers queried the $30 million “take or pay deal” reached by NBET with investors on the Azura power plant.


Under the pull call option agreement (PCOA), Nigeria is expected to pay a mandatory monthly fee ranging from $30 million to $33 million to Azura for power generated — whether it is transmitted or not through the national grid.



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