July 27, 2016
Nigeria House In New York Disconnected Over Unpaid Electricity Bills
According to report by SaharaReporters, the electricity supply to the 22-floor Nigeria House in New York, was yesterday disconnected by Con Edison, the local company that is the main provider of power to the city.
It was learnt that the company decided to disconnect the building from its grid following the failure of officials at the Consulate and the Permanent Mission of Nigerian to the United Nations, which use it, to pay up bills of about $23,000.
In a disclosure by some members of staff of both offices to the publication, former officials in charge of the building, led by Ambassador Joy Ogwu, who served as Permanent Representative for many years, thoroughly mismanaged the property to siphon off funds meant for maintenance of the building, which is about $100k per month.
It was further gathered that Ambassador Ogwu, in an astounding act of nepotism, went as far as awarding the contract for the cleaning of the property to her son, who lacked experience in the business, and without the competitive bidding required by law. After she retired last december the son was kicked out as the contractor in charge of cleaning the building.
Prior to the disconnection of electricity yesterday, the air conditioning in the entire building had packed up, making life hellish for Nigerians who work there, as well as others who transact business, such as procurement of immigration documents, in the building.
Report reveals that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bulus Lolo and a former Chancery officer, Ibrahim Rabiu, both visited the Nigeria House last Monday only to leave via British Airways on Thursday without solving the billing issue in the building. Their departure followed a closed-door meeting with its maintenance engineers.
Apart from the issues of unpaid bills, the Nigeria House has other issues relating to corruption on the part of Immigration officials seconded from Nigeria as attaches. A source told SaharaReporters that attaches in charge of passports have begun to collect bribes from prospective passport applicants to expedite processing.
On many occasions, the Attache had people waiting in her office to collect their passport or they simply collect telephone numbers of desperate applicants and meet them in the restaurants in the area to hand over passports after they have collected bribes ranging from $50-$100 per passport or visa.
As at the time of filing this report, it has been learnt that power supply has been restored.