The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, said efforts to ensure a steady power supply nationwide are being frustrated by terrorists vandalising critical power infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas, especially the northeast.
The minister said the damages had hindered the Transmission Company of Nigeria from extending power to the affected areas.
Aliyu stated this on Wednesday while briefing on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He explained that the transmission infrastructure is being vandalised after every effort to install new ones, forcing the government to resort to alternative but less efficient ways to supply electricity to affected areas in Maiduguri.
He added that TCN officials could not access some vandalised power infrastructure in Shiroro, Niger State, as they are situated within terrorist strongholds.
Aliyu noted that his ministry is working closely with security agencies to access such areas and begin new power projects.
He said; “We have a lot of challenges, and it’s not that we are sleeping over them. We have vandalism on our lines, vandalism on our stations, and substations. We have those ones that affect us indirectly and directly. Like vandalism around oil pipelines which affects gas, and once you don’t get gas to power, you don’t get the megawatts. Once there is no power coming from the generators, you know what that means.
“For instance, this Maiduguri issue, through our thinking out of the box, we’re able to take back electricity to Maiduguri, and people are enjoying it. We have challenges around our installations in Kaduna. As I’m talking to you now, we have been battling with one of our lines snaps toward Shiroro. We have two lines coming from there.
“One, we cannot even go there to inspect and see what is wrong because of the security challenges. We have issues around the right of ways which I have talked to you here about, which we are pulling down some. Some are still lingering, but we are facing them head-on.”
On some of the projects approved by FEC, Aliyu said, “The sixth one is in Damaturu Yobe State. This one is very peculiar because, as you may be aware, for over one year, Maiduguri has not been enjoying full electricity. We were able to take electricity supply through an old line of 33KV, which we repaired and restored, and were able to take 10 megawatts to Maiduguri, over 130 kilometres, on a 33 single circuit. We restored that three to four months ago.