The Federal Government says the security crisis plaguing the country is taking a toll on the power sector as infrastructure, including those meant to drive electricity supply to Nigerians are being vandalised.
Although the government did put a cost to the extent of damage done to the sector by the terrorists, it nevertheless admitted that their activities have impacted negatively on the government’s continued ability to provide power.
Abubakar Aliyu, minister of power, who briefed State House journalists on Wednesday, after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, attributed most of the epileptic power supply to the handiwork of terrorists.
This, he said, has hampered the capacity to deliver electricity, adding that the government “is now playing hide and seek with terrorists to restore service.”
Citing the case of the North-East, North-West and North-Central, the Aliyu said after power infrastructure were brought down by vandals but subsequently restored, they have been vandalised again.
BusinessDay gathered that the situation has compelled the government to design alternative but less efficient ways to supply electricity to areas affected, particularly Maiduguri in Borno State.
The minister also said his officials had not been able to access vandalised power infrastructure in Niger State, including Shiroro to determine their problem because of insecurity in the area.
He, however, said the security agencies were cooperating with his ministry on how best to deal with the situation.
Speaking on one of such projects approved by FEC, he 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 around three to four months or thereabout.
“So, they’re enjoying 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 330 that takes 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 main time to take electricity through the 33 KVA which they are enjoying but not as they may like it to be. It’s being rationed.
“So, we are currently procuring another 33 double circuits new one to Maiduguri along the same route.
“The idea is if someone tampers with it, it’s easy to restore it within a day or two, unlike the bigger one which is the 330 which takes weeks or months to restore because it’s in the bush.
“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; we will repair and this is why we are doing this endeavour by the roadside. It is to keep on restoring back.
“But currently, we have sent the contractor back to restore the main 330 that was vandalised some time back. So, in order to have enough electricity for Damaturu and environs, from that substation Damaturu, and take some to Maiduguri, this project seeks to boost the capacity of Damaturu substation.”
He said this project, which will cost $6,717,673.13 in offshore component and N1.313,323,271.25, has been approved for award to Messers Six Rix Management.
The minister disclosed that FEC approved projects for the design supply and installation of 1x60MVA, 132x33KV transmission substation with associated 4×132 KV line bay extension at Hong local government and Adamawa State in favour of Messers Associate Power Solution Engineering Limited in the sum of N6,529,589,637.28, consisting of two components – offshore and onshore.
The cost of the project offshore is $6,932,289.20, and the onshore is N3,337,250,789.77 at the CBN prevailing exchange rate and 7.5 percent VAT with delivery period being 24 months.
“This seeks to raise the capacity of the supply around that area and it’s going to affect so many towns and villages. There’s a very important local government headquarters around that area. It is going to affect Hong which is a local government headquarters in Adamawa state.
“Gombi is also another local government headquarters, Garkida town and Hong. Then Mudi, Woba, Michika, Madagari. There is an existing 132 that passes through this area. So what we’re doing now is to drop a substation there.
“The hope is by the time all these interventions we are making on the grid, reach up to 11,000 or there about that it will be able to withstand and take it off. So this is the intervention.
“And the second memo also 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 Messers T and D technologies Limited. The offshore component $1.8 million, the onshore is N98 million.
“The second one is Gusau in Zamfara State, the same project to Messers Basharri Limited. The third one is Kankia in Katsina State, which is to enjoy the same project to be supplied by Messers Farmamade Energy Limited.
“The next one is Minna, Niger State is also to enjoy some project to Messers Crossworld global technology limited. Then the fifth one is to Okearo in Ogun to enjoy the same transformer.”
He gave the total amount approved for the project made up of dollar component of $22,670,416.33 and the naira component is N5,141,924,927.2.
The aggregate of the projects approved for the ministry by FEC came to N23,047,974,090.