Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, has warned that the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) may halt electricity supply and lead to national blackout. He was speaking to journalists and power sector operators in Kano, Monday June 13. He said that the outlaws have blocked supply to 23 gas pipelines across the Niger Delta states since their attacks on national assets since Valentines Day February 14, 2016.
His words: “Let me say first time that the first major pipeline was vandalized in Forcados on the 14th of February. As at the 2nd of February, we were generating 5000 megawatts. When that pipeline was vandalized on the 14th of February, electricity generation dropped to 3000 megawatts. Since then up to the 2nd of June, there have been 14 attacks on oil pipelines. As a result of that, the 23 gas pipelines that we have are not getting enough gas to fire their turbines. So we are gradually and entirely dependent now on hydro power, which is coming from the Kainji.
“So, the impact is quite significant; but I can assure you that it is temporary, and we are trying our best to restore the damaged pipelines. But more importantly, we are reviving our energy resources. If you remember the last time I spoke to the press, I talked about the energy mix. You know, Nigeria is lucky; we can generate power from hydro, solar, coal and gas. So the energy mix has become more important now because of the risk in single reliance on gas towards our energy security.
“Now, building new power plants take nothing less than 18 to 24 months. So as we are going forward, we will be using more coal, and more hydro as well as solar, so that in the medium time, Nigeria will not be over-dependent on gas, which is what we are doing. That is why I say this is temporary. In the interim, we are working on how to improve our capacity to transmit. I think by the end of August, we should be able to improve power supply.”