The embattled Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading PLC, Marilyn Amobi, has been suspended with immediate effect.
The Christmas eve suspension order was issued by the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, who directed Ms Amobi to hand over to the most senior director in the organization.
A Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) report on Tuesday quoted the minister as saying that the order for the MD to step down was in continuation of the government’s effort to reorganise and sanitise the Federal Ministry of Power and its affiliate agencies.
The reorganization exercise is one of the steps by the minister to remove all factors militating against the smooth operation of the power sector to deliver the objective set by the government.
Ms Amobi is the second electricity chief to be suspended on Tuesday.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported the suspension of the Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency, Damilola Ogunbiyi.
Five-member probe panel
Consequently, a five-member investigative committee has been constituted to probe the myriads of complaints leveled against Ms Amobi.
The suspension of Ms Amobi is coming barely a week after an exclusive report by PREMIUM TIMES detailing how she instigated the arrest and detention for several hours of nine top officials of the bulk trader by the State Security Services (SSS, also called DSS).
One the officials who was affected by the security raid of the NBET is the most senior director in the agency, who may be taking over the management of the agency from Ms Amobi.
Following the raid by the SSS, members of the NBET top management petitioned the Chairman of the NBET Board and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, about the fast deteriorating situation.
Copies of the petition sent to the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, and the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), James Momoh, demanded the immediate removal of Ms Amobi from office.
“We invite the Federal Government to intervene urgently to save the staff from physical internal threat to staff by Ms Amobi,” the management staff said.
They accused the MD of constituting herself into a “clear and present threat to staff” by inviting the SSS to invade their office under her watch.
Not new to troubles
The sacked MD was not new to troubles, as she was enmeshed in several allegations of corruption, resulting in the House of Representatives instituting a probe into her activities.
Also, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) indicted her for alleged violation of the Public Procurement Act.
A Projects & Research Officer in the agency, Obinna Nnadozie, who rejected procurement documents he considered illegal was harassed into resigning on November 21.
In his resignation letter addressed to his head of department, a copy obtained by PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja, Mr Nnadozie hinged his decision to quit on the “extremely toxic work environment at NBET, which has started impacting his health and family negatively.”
“The increasingly virulent work conditions, coupled with the culture of victimisation at NBET in which employees are discouraged from speaking the truth due to fear of retaliation, have forced me to resign. My health, moral compass, and peace of mind cannot allow me to continue to be employed by this company,” Mr Nnadozie lamented.
Last month, electricity generation companies (GENCos) threatened to shut down power generation across the country over the controversial order by the NBET MD for them.
Ms Amobi had written to the MDs of all the GENCOs to extract commitments from them to pay 0.75 per cent administrative charge on all collated and submitted gas and transportation cost invoices to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for payment.
The directive did not receive the approval of the electricity sector regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the clearance of the Federal Ministry of Power.
But, she insisted that the directive was given based on the approval by the presidency. She refused to name the official in the presidency who gave her the approval
Following the protest by the GENCOs, the NBET MD sued the Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generating Companies (APGC), Joy Ogaji, over alleged ‘malicious’ statements about NBET.