The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said its efforts to ensure steady power supply nationwide are being frustrated by terrorists who are vandalising critical power infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas, especially the northeast.
The damages, it said, have hindered the Transmission Company of Nigeria from extending power to the affected areas.
The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, disclosed this to State House Correspondents while briefing on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In September 2021, the federal government estimated the cost of vandalised transmission equipment belonging to the TCN in Maiduguri, Borno State, at N1.7bn.
According to Aliyu, 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, however, noted that his ministry is working closely with security agencies to access such areas and begin new power projects.
Giving an on-the-ground detail of the vandalism, 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 line 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 kilometers, on a 33 single circuit. We restored that three to four months ago.
“So, they’re enjoying it but very little. By the time the electricity reaches Maiduguri, it will drop to six or seven megawatts because of losses along the way. As you are also aware, the 33-line taking power to Maiduguri was vandalised by insurgents. And we tried a number of times to restore it, they will go back and pull down the towers.
“So, we now decided, in the meantime, to take the electricity through the 33KVA which they are enjoying but not as they may like it to be. It’s being rationed around the time. So, we are currently procuring another 33 double circuits to Maiduguri along the same route. So, as it is now even the one that we have installed, we have been doing hide and seek. Sometimes they will pull one or two poles, which we will repair and this is why we are doing this endeavour by the roadside. It is just to keep on restoring back.”
Aliyu noted that when this gets tampered with, repairs can be done in a day or two, unlike the bigger one which takes weeks or months to restore because it’s in the bush.
He said the offshore component of the project would cost $6,717,673.13. The onshore component would cost N1,313,323,271.25, which has been approved for award to MSSRS Six Rix Management.
The Power Minister also explained that the power projects approved by the Council in the two other memos he presented were for the design, supply and installation of 1x60MVA, 132x33KV transmission substation with associated 4x132KV line bay extension at Hong Local Government and Adamawa state in favour of MSSRS associate power solution engineering limited in the sum of N6,529,589,637.28 consisting of two components one is offshore and onshore.
The offshore component costs $6,932,289.20 at the CBN prevailing exchange rate, while the onshore component costs N3,337,250,789.77 with 7.5 per cent VAT, to be delivered in 24 months.
Aliyu explained that the project would benefit the towns of Hong, Gombi, Garkida, Mudi, Woba, Michika and Madagari, some of which are local government headquarters in Adamawa State.
The second memo, he said, is to “procure power transformers and associated spare parts for the TCN to be deployed to six locations as follows: One is to Aiyede in Oyo State to MSSRS T and D technologies Limited. Offshore component is $1.8m. The onshore is N98m.
“The second one is Gusau in Zamfara State, same project to MSSRS Basharri limited. The third one is Kankia in Katsina State, which is to enjoy the same project to be supplied by MSSRS Farmamade energy limited.
“The next one is Minna, Niger State is also to enjoy some projects with MSSRS Crossworld global technology limited. Then the fifth one is to go to Okearo in Ogun to enjoy the same transformer.”
The minister said the total figure approved for the project amounted to $22,670,416.33 in offshore component and N5,141,924,927.2 in onshore component.