Bandits are threatening to blow up power lines that supply electricity to Kano, Kastina, and other states within the zone if their demands are not meant.
This was disclosed by a source in the Federal Ministry of Power to our analyst on Thursday.
According to him, the bandits have held the residents hostage asking the federal government to meet their demands or they will destroy power lines in the region and the entire Northeast.
What the source is saying
He said, “Over more than 10 years, communities in the northeast have been attacked by insurgents, and several power installations have been destroyed. As if that is not enough, they are threatening to destroy a major power line that supplies Kano and it’s neighbouring states and that will mean all the states with be thrown into darkness.
“We need to fix some powerlines in the area too but no one can move close to the facilities because of fear of being attacked. We have reported to the necessary authorities and we await a response. Power supply in the area has been inconsistent and may drop further if nothing is done.”
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What the minister is saying
Abubakar Aliyu, minister for power, while briefing journalists on the outcome of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, confirmed that the constant attacks on power lines in the north-east have affected the ability of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to power the zone.
Aliyu explained that the government has now been forced to design alternative but less efficient ways to supply electricity to the affected areas.
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- He said, “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 thereabouts.
- “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 [line] taking power to Maiduguri was vandalised by insurgents. We tried a number of times to restore it, but they will go back and pull down the towers.
- “So, we now decided, in the meantime, to take the electricity through the 33 KVA which they are enjoying but not as they may like it to be. It’s being rationed around the time.
- “We are currently procuring another 33 double circuit new ones 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.
- “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 just to keep on restoring.
- “But currently, we have returned the contractor to restore the main 330 KVA that was vandalised some time back. In order to have enough electricity for Damaturu and environs — from that substation in Damaturu and take some to Maiduguri — this project seeks to boost the capacity of Damaturu substation.”
Aliyu added that security agencies have also been working on efforts to check the attacks at flashpoints in the affected areas.
What you should know
- As of September 2021, the federal government put the cost of vandalized transmission equipment in Maiduguri, the Borno capital, at N1.7 billion.