The federal government has apologised to Nigerians for the persistent power failures, blaming the situation on gas failure as well as sabotage and vandalisation of power infrastructure.
According to a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by Segun Adeyemi, special adviser to Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, the government said that all efforts were being made to rectify the situation and ensure a gradual improvement in the power situation.
“There will be a decent improvement in the power situation from this weekend, thanks to ongoing remedial efforts that will double the current power supply to 4,000WM. Getting back to the 5,074MW all-time high that was reached earlier will take a few more weeks,” Mohammed said.
The minister said that at a time the routine maintenance by the Nigeria Gas Company had affected the supply of gas to power stations, forcing down power supply from an all-time high of 5,074 MW to about 4,000MW, a combination of unsavoury incidents further crashed the power supply to about half that figure.
“The vandalisation of the Forcados export pipelines forced oil companies to shut down, making it impossible for them to produce gas. Then, workers at the Ikeja DISCOS, who were protesting the disengagement of some of their colleagues after they failed the company’s competency test, apparently colluded with the National Transmission Station in Osogbo to shut down transmission,” he explained.
“Finally, the unfortunate strike by the unions at the NNPC, over the restructuring of the corporation, shut down the Itarogun power station, the biggest in the country. Due to these factors, only 13 out of the 24 power stations in the country are currently functioning. It is this same kind of unsavoury situation that has affected fuel supply and subjected Nigerians to untold hardship.”
The minister condemned the situation in which some Nigerians, under the guise of the various unions in the oil and gas sector or sheer vandalisation, would continuously sabotage the country’s power infrastructure.
“The bitter truth is that for as long as these groups of Nigerians continue to sabotage the power infrastructure, Nigerians cannot enjoy a decent level of power supply. We therefore admonish all Nigerians who may be agitating for their rights in whatever form to refrain from any action that will further hurt the same people they claim to be protecting,” he added.
During the week, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, had blamed Nigerians for sabotaging power infrastructure.
“On the issue of power, it seems Nigerians are their own problems. You can recall about four weeks ago, the power ministry came out to say that the megawatts we had was 5070, which is an all-time high in 16 years,” he said.
“A few days after, some people blew installations in Bayelsa, we lost about 1600 megawatts immediately. After that, installation was blown in Delta and we lost another 1,000 megawatts. What would the government do in that kind of circumstance?
“If the people who should be provided power are the ones sabotaging installations, they can’t turn round to say government is not providing power. Nigerians need to determine what they want. If South Africa has about 50,000 megawatts, it is because their own people are not sabotaging their installations, they are not going to blow up the lines. If Nigerians continue to blow up and sabotage, then they can’t come around to say that there is no power.”