The Federal Government on Wednesday warned the incoming government of the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to avoid reversing the privatisation of the power sector carried out by the outgoing administration.
Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said this in an interview with State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
Nebo also attributed the poor power supply being witnessed across the country to those he called demon-possessed Nigerians who he said derive pleasure in vandalising gas pipelines for no just reason.
Lamenting the problem, he said he had never in his life seen anything “frustrating as what we are experiencing today.”
On privatisation, the minister said any call for the incoming administration to reverse the exercise was an ill-advice.
He said any attempt to do that would translate to setting the nation back for many decades.
He said, “On privatisation, I think the incoming government will be ill-advised to reverse privatisation and liberalisation of power generation, transmission and distribution because any attempt to do that would be to set Nigeria back many decades.
“The gains of privatisation are very obvious. If we can solve the problem of gas like we are talking about energy mix, we are not just going by gas we are doing hydros.
“It was this same administration that flagged off Zungeru hydro power plants for 750MW and it is in the bid to flag off Mambilla 3,050MW. Shiroro has been improved, revamped, Kanji revamped and improved, the same as Jebba.
“So, there is a lot of work being done by the government; however to turn back on privatisation would mean stopping all of these companies and then reversing the massive in flow of investments coming into the power sector.
“Nigeria’s power consumption per capita is one of the lowest in the world and that is part of the efforts of government to reverse that. So I don’t think it is in the best interest of the country to reverse privatisation.”
On the poor power supply in the country, Nebo said he had never been frustrated this way in his life.
He attributed his frustration to the vandalism of gas pipelines which he said was being carried out regularly by Nigerians who are possessed by demons.
“I have never in my life seen anything as frustrating as what we are experiencing today.
“Every month, the Nigerian gas company spends a minimum of N120 million to fix gas pipeline.
” Every two weeks, western axis pipelines are vandalised and that is pure sabotage; the eastern axis pipelines are vandalised and that is oil theft.
“At the end of the day, the gas that is suppose to go to the turbines don’t get to the turbines to generate electricity.
“As I speak to you today, we have not installed capacity which is more, but available if you give us gas right now we will produce 5,500MW.
“But when the pipelines are in the state of disarray as they are now, in fact the recent thing they are doing is testing the integrity of the entire system. And when you have broken something over and over again, you have to really look at the entire spectrum to make sure whether the rest of the pipeline has integrity to bear gas.
“Four major joints they are working on is going to cost them N1.5 billion. Is that the way to give light to the country? he said.
Nebo said the situation underpinned the problem of planning and putting all the nation’s eggs in one basket which this administration has done everything to reverse.
He said so long as the nation continues to depend on gas which is vulnerable and susceptible to attacks on a regularly basis, the situation would persists.
The minister said there were days he felt like crying over vandalism.