Journalism of Courage

National power outage, infrastructure collapse: Saboteurs are at work, says FG

All these have stalled the completion of some projects, the Minister of Power, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, said.

With about 12 months to exit office, the Buhari-led Federal Government has indulged in blame games as it is confronted with ongoing power crisis. The government on Wednesday blamed “saboteurs’’ for nationwide outage, fatal attacks and abduction of foreign workers working on various power projects in the country.

All these have stalled the completion of some projects, the Minister of Power, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, said.

He disclosed this to State House correspondents after the week’s virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Aliyu noted that these acts of sabotage have been robbing Nigeria of investors and development.

“You are all aware this country is facing a lot of challenges. It’s not only in the power sector alone, you have just heard about the insecurity.

“The railway and the communities are being attacked, oil pipelines. They are all similar things, including the power sector.

“You can call it a sabotage because how can somebody go and pull down 330 (megawatt) tower to cause this havoc to the whole country. What do you call that?

“Not quite long, on January 4, the project that we had announced that we’re going to commission, the Zungeru, 700 megawatts hydro, which is at present over 92% completion, we are just doing little touches to commission the project.

“There was an attack on January 4 this year and they abducted the Chinese workers and up till now they’re still with the captives. The Chinese cannot return to work until they get their brothers out.

“So, they are working minimally, we have like three sites on the whole project; the main dam, which on the 28th of March we have commissioned one of the turbines and passed it, we did the tests and it has passed, it was celebrated.

“They are working there in the main hydro. Then there is a line of over 30 kilometers to a switch yard. So, they are not working on the switch yard on the line and if they don’t finish these two, you cannot evacuate,” Persecondnews quotes the minister as saying.

Aliyu also explained: “Even the turbine that we have commissioned and tested is just a dry testing, you cannot take electricity out because of the line and the tripping point.

“That is where the switch yard is and this was where they attacked and killed some people, took away some of them, the foreign workers; about three.

“So, we believe they are all working together, just as the Minister of Information said.

“So, we need to also work together as a nation to support the leadership, to support the government, to face these challenges together. Any support you can give, give that support.”

The Minister of Power further disclosed that the FEC has approved N1.4 billion for the supply of more equipment for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), in order to boost power supply in the country.

“I presented two memos form the ministry of power for the Transmission Company of Nigeria. The first one was variation of the sum of a contract for 132/33 KV substation at Kafanchan, Kaduna State with a KV line base extension at Jos substation, in Plateau State. This is in the sum of N132,705, 861.42.

“The second memo was for the supply of handling equipment, haulage and operational vehicles for the TCN at N1,338,159,080. 88.

“They are heavy lifting equipment that the TCN requires for doing its work in the store and on the field, while changing equipment and moving transformers and the council graciously approved,” Aliyu said.

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