The Association of Rural Electrification Contractors of Nigeria, ARECON, has urged the incoming government of Pres-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to decisively pay extra attention to the challenges in Nigeria’s rural electricity sector.
This is as they have also debunked reports of misdoings by the MD of the Rural Electrification Agency, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad over allegations bordering on conflict of interest of his position as the MD / CEO of REA.
In a statement released to the Press by the ARECON, they maintain that since 2020, the Rural Electrification Agency, under its present leadership has approached the business of electrification differently, through a 5-year strategy document that has strengthened the internal workings of the agency, by consistently improving the agency’s project delivery vehicles.
The REA was established to work in line with the Federal Government’s objective on the delivery of clean, sustainable energy infrastructure nationwide, under the Federal Ministry of Power. However, in recent weeks, allegations of fraud and conflict of interest have been recounted against the MD, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad.
The Association of Rural Electrification Contractors of Nigeria describes these attempts as ploys by detractors to tarnish the image of the MD of REA.
In response to a petition written to the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, dated April 25 2023 by contractors and published in an online publication, the REA boss had also described the claim as untrue and defamatory.
The petition accused the Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Electrification Agency, (REA), Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, of holding the position of a Director in Velocity Logistics and Marine Services Ltd while equally serving as the MD / CEO of the agency.
According to him, ” it became necessary to respond to this claim as it is untrue and defamatory. For the sake of clarity, I want to emphasize that my employment history had been thoroughly vetted and approved by the appropriate authorities, upon my assumption to the role of MD / CEO at the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) on the 29th of December, 2019.
” Prior to taking on this critical role at the Agency, I had been in the private sector and had equally relinquished my position as one of the Directors of Velocity as far back as 25th of April, 2019, long before I was appointed MD / CEO of the REA. These details are accessible and available at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“Furthermore, as an administrator committed to serving while upholding the mandate of the agency, I have acted with the highest ethical standards and have never engaged in any behavior conflict with the interest of my position as the MD / CEO of REA.
“I am in no way privy to any and all business dealings between the Contractors and Velocity as I have had no connection whatsoever with Velocity since 25th of April, 2019.
“It is unfortunate that this publication was made and directed to harm my reputation, defame my character and that of the agency I lead.”
In the year 2022, the REA officially hit and crossed the 1 million connections milestone through the deployment of Standalone Solar Home Systems (SHS) for improved energy access across Nigeria. The objective of the “Standalone Solar Home Systems for Households and Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)” component of the NEP is to help millions of unserved and underserved Nigerian households and MSMEs access better energy services at an affordable cost, via stand-alone solar systems through private sector companies.
The target beneficiaries are people in off-grid locations or underserved customers that have inefficient and unreliable energy access.
The Association of Rural Electrification Contractors of Nigeria also believe that for the tempo to be sustained in the realization of sustainable electricity across Nigeria, as the REA continues the pursuit of its vision and mandate of achieving universal access to affordable and sustainable electricity, it is imperative for paid elements to abstain from bearing false allegations against the MD of REA. They also call for his continued efforts at improving the quality of life and economic opportunities for unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria, through his leadership at REA.
ARECON also recalled the past controversies that trailed the former MD of REA, Engr. Gekpe, where he and his management were falsely accused of contract scam to the tune of N5.2 billion Naira. The EFCC was invited to probe the allegation, and it was thereafter proven to be false; however, the contractors believed at the time that no money was embezzled or stolen by the REA.
Conclusively, the Association of Rural Electrification Contractors of Nigeria, urges the general public and the relevant government agencies to disregard the purported malfeasance being alleged in the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).