Former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo has blamed inadequate gas supply and vandalism for power failure, even as he was not miserly in his suggestions to the new Muhammadu Buhari administration on what to do, to get it right.
He was, however, quick to point out that the huge investments in the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) and other investments in power generation had led to a historic 6000 megawatts installed generation capacity at handover.
For President Muhammadu Buhari, Nebo had a word of advice: “Wield the big stick and ensure there is gas to power if power generation is to improve.’’
Also, it has emerged that electricity marketers are fleecing consumers across the country using the unavailability of pre-paid meters as excuse. Specifically, some marketers collect between N1,000 to N3,000 from customers who neither have meters nor are given electricity bills that represent whatever they are supposed to have consumed.
In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Nebo accused gas producers of being more interested in exporting the nation’s gas and diverting what remained for the domestic market to industries, instead of the power sector where it is greatly needed.
“This new government should take a cue and make sure that the petroleum sector does what it ought to do to make sure that there is enough gas going to the power plants. It is very critical. If the new administration does not do that, Nigerians are going to keep suffering in darkness.”
On vandalism, he noted: “I do hope that the administration would also fight vandalism and bring the vandals to their knees. If we don’t do that, we are still going to have a problem. Every two weeks, the gas pipelines are blown up. It takes two weeks to fix them only for them to be blown up again within 24 to 48 hours of fixing.
‘‘It cost over N120 million and thereabouts every month to fix the pipelines that are damaged. But recently, it is costing over N1billion plus to make sure that the integrity of the transportation of the gas-to-pipeline is maintained.
“I think it is scandalous that we produce over 5 billion scf of gas every day, sell 4 billion and retain only 1 billion scf for local use. The one for local use is preferentially given to industries and not to power, starving the power sector of the needed gas to industrialise this country and I think that is a shame.”
Lamenting the poor power supply in the country, Buhari at his inauguration, had said that despite the about $20 billion expended in the electricity sector in the last 16 years, no significant achievement has been recorded. He however, vowed to tackle the issue of power supply during his tenure.