36 state governors reject sale of 10 power plants, take FG to court

The 36 state governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have rejected the sale of some power plants in the country as they have gone to court to stop the privatization of 10 power plants by the federal government.

The NGF said its lawyers have taken steps to prevent the federal government from selling these 10 power plants, which are under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs).

The Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), which is owned by the federal, state, and local government councils, is a power generation and distribution company that oversees the implementation of the NIPPs.

This disclosure is contained in a communique issued and signed on Wednesday by the NGF chairman, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, after the teleconference held by the governors on Tuesday, November 22, 2022.

The plants in contention: Although the NIPPs in contention were not listed by the governors, the 10 power plants currently undergoing the privatization processes include; Benin Generation Company Limited, Calabar Generation Company Limited, Egbema Generation Company Limited, Gbarain Generation Company Limited and Geregu Generation Company Limited.

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Others include; Ogorode Generation Company Limited, Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited, Omoku Generation Company Limited, Omotosho Generation Company Limited and Alaoji Generation Company Limited.

Court restrains all parties: The communique from NGF partly reads:

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  • “The Forum, following its advocacy that the proposed privatisation of 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) should be stopped, instructed its lawyers to approach the Federal High Court which, at present has issued a court order restraining all the parties in the suit from taking any step or action that will make or render the outcome of the motion on notice seeking for interlocutory injunction nugatory.
  • “The effect of the order of the court is that respondents cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHCL) until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”

For catchup: Recall that in April 2021, the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) approved the adoption of a fast-track strategy for the privatisation of 5 power plants namely Geregu, Omotosho, Ihovbor, Olorunsogo, and Calabar power plants.

  • Despite the opposition to the planned privatisation of the NIPP by the House of Representatives, the FG had, through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) commenced due diligence assessment of the 16 pre-qualified investors shortlisted for the acquisition of the plants.
  • The lawmakers had in a resolution directed the BPE to stop the sale of these power plants.