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Shehu claims Buhari did not sack AEDC management

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…But his minister earlier fingered Buhari in dissolution of AEDC board

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari did not sack the management of the privately-owned Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu has claimed.

Shehu, who made this known in a statement on Wednesday, said earlier reports that his boss had hands in the dissolution of the company’s management were untrue.

“This cannot be true,” he said.

He said that since the privatisation of the power sector in 2013, the management of the successor companies had reverted to the new owners, stating that it would be totally out of place and inconceivable that Buhari would be linked to the management of a private organisation, let alone sacking it.

While reiterating the president’s innocence, Shehu said his boss had no plans to interfere in the running of the affairs of private business entities.

According to him, the presidency, however, welcomed ongoing discussions with relevant stakeholders to resolve the issues surrounding the recent developments in the company.

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Shehu’s statements were in contradiction to earlier statements by the Buhari’s Minister of State for Power Jeddy Agba that the president had approved the decision to remove the company’s management.

Ofem Uket, media aide to the Minister of State for Power Jeddy Agba, said on Tuesday, in a statement, that President Buhari had approved a new interim governing board to oversee the day-to-day operations of the company.

The decision to sack the board, The ICIR understands, was because of an industrial faceoff with workers that grounded electricity supply to AEDC’s franchise areas, including the Federal Capital Territory.

The workers had the company of failing to remit their pension contributions and other entitlements for nearly two years.

Ofem Uket, media aide to the minister, who issued the statement, said the president had also approved a new interim governing board to oversee the company’s day-to-day operations.

He said that the decision to fire the management was taken by the company’s shareholders and approved by the government as the regulator.

But, in what appeared to be a rebuttal on Wednesday, the minister claimed he was reported out of context. He said the decision to sack the company’s management was taken instead by the United Bank Africa (UBA), which had taken over the electricity firm following AEDC’s loan repayment default.

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Energy experts have argued that the president does not have the powers to dissolve the company’s management, though the Federal Government owns minority shares in the company.

Former Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Sam Amadi, who spoke to journalists on the backdrop of the development, said the president could only push for changes through the Bureau of Public Enterprises and regulations.

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