Minister Alleges Sabotage In Borno Seven-month-old Power Outage
SAN FRANCISCO, January 04, (THEWILL) – The seven-month-old power outage in Borno State has been blamed on dirty politicking and sabotage.
Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, made the allegation Sunday in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Alhaji Olawale Rasheed.
According to the minister, “It was shocking that the blackout had been politicised by some individuals trying to score cheap political points.”
He said: “There are strong evidence suggesting that some disgruntled forces are deliberately vandalising power lines as a weapon of blackmail against the Federal Government.
“The blackout crisis has thus become politicised with those dark forces deriving joy in stopping power supply to Borno in other to score cheap political points.”
The minister stated further: “Public infrastructures belong to the citizens, not to one or two political leaders, and to embark on systematic destruction of power lines and other utilities for political end is uncharitable and an action that should be condemned by all and sundry.
“Protection of public utilities in Borno or elsewhere should not become instrument of politics as the welfare of our people are at stake.”
Wakil assured that “The ministry is however not relenting in its efforts to reconnect the state and defeat the twin evil of insurgency and sabotage.”
He also expressed gratitude to the people of the state for their understanding, saying “we assure them that before long, the blackout will be a thing of the past.”
According to the minister, the Federal Government had made several attempts to restore the power supply, which was cut off during Boko Haram attack on Damboa town which affected the power sub station in the area.
“The Federal Ministry of Power has repeatedly moved to reconnect Maiduguri to the national grid but insurgency and sabotage have so far delayed the realisation of that goal.”
“In the last seven months when the power lines and substation at Damboa were attacked, the ministry through the Transmission Company of Nigeria ( TCN) has made at least seven attempts to rectify the problem but on each occasion the officials were attacked.”
“On two occasion, the reconnection were successfully accomplished with parts of Maiduguri enjoying power supply. This was however short-lived as the lines were again vandalised less than five hours after,” the minister explained.
He disclosed that this development made the Ministry of Power to seek assistance from the military towards the reconnection after holding meetings with military chiefs to request for special security cover which was granted and “this led to the latest attempt by the ministry to reconnect the state.”
According to him, “It was widely reported that the insurgents again attempted to attack the TCN staff but were ambushed by the accompanied military team.”
“In that brave defense of the power officials, the military lost an officer and two soldiers with 75 insurgents killed while many other sustained injuries.”
“It should be put on record that power lines run several kilometres across the state. It is practically impossible to physically police the lines from Damboa to Maiduguri which is also widely known as an insurgency belt. ”
“It was due to the bravery of our officials and the military that the Damboa sub-station has been repaired but the power lines remain susceptible to vandalisation. The ministry is thus using this medium to alert the public that sabotage and insurgency are two evil mix that is stalling the restoration of power to the state.”