When a country lacks electric power supply, and also fuel for generators and plants to run on, then there is something really wrong with the administrative management of the country. For weeks now, it has been miles of queues in petrol stations across Nigeria, as people try to buy fuel, since the power sector has decided to go on an informal strike without warning.
However, the Nigerian government is not blind to these crisis and they have offered their sincere apologizes to citizens for the hardship and inconveniences power outage has caused them. The government blamed the current electricity crisis in the country on sabotage, gas shortage and vandalism of power infrastructure. In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, the minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said efforts were being made to rectify the situation and ensure a gradual improvement in the power situation.
“There will be a decent improvement in the power situation from this weekend, thanks to ongoing remedial efforts that will double the current power supply to 4,000WM. Getting back to the 5,074MW all-time high that was reached earlier will take a few more weeks.”
Mr. Mohammed also said that the routine maintenance by the Nigeria Gas Company had affected the supply of gas to power stations, forcing down power supply from an all-time high of 5,074 MW to about 4,000MW. He said a combination of “unsavory incidents” further crashed the power supply to about half the foregoing figure.
“The vandalization of the Forcados export pipelines forced oil companies to shut down, making it impossible for them to produce gas. Then, workers at the Ikeja Discos, who were protesting the disengagement of some of their colleagues after they failed the company’s competency test, apparently colluded with the National Transmission Station in Osogbo to shut down transmission.
The unfortunate strike by the unions at the NNPC over the restructuring of the corporation, shut down the Itarogun Power Station, the biggest in the country. Due to these factors, only 13 out of the 24 power stations in the country are currently functioning. It is this same kind of unsavoury situation that has affected fuel supply and subjected Nigerians to untold hardship.”
Meanwhile, on the issue of fuel, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) said the ongoing fuel scarcity in the country might linger for some more weeks, maybe till the end of March. The South-West chairman of the union, Tokunbo Korodo, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Lagos. He said from all indications, the process of loading petrol at NNPC depots and private depots is slow, and if there is no improvement by next week, the situation might be worse.
The pace of loading of fuel at NNPC depots in Mosinmi and Ejigbo is very slow as most tankers drivers that wanted to load, left the depots with nothing. Even at private depots where they sell above the ex-depot price, the pace of loading is very slow. Presently, we need massive loading of petrol nationwide to get over the present scarcity.
The minister strongly condemned the situation in which some Nigerians, under the guise of the various unions in the oil and gas sector or sheer vandalism, will continuously sabotage the country’s power infrastructure. Meanwhile, scarcity of petrol continues as queues of motorists, vehicles, trucks and keg buyers persist in few filling stations that are willing to sell fuel.
It has gotten bad to the extent where people carry their generator to petrol stations to have it refilled. In Lagos state, generators have added to the list of items on fuel queues, as people can no longer bear to stay in hot houses where there are no means of powering fans and Air conditioners – No power, no fuel.
Fuel is being sold in filling stations at different prices, between N140 – N200, all above the recommended 86.50 Naira per litre. Meanwhile, in some petrol stations, customers also pay the attendant extra N500 to get their keg, car, or/and generator filled. This is certainly not the kind of change Nigerians anticipated when voting in Muhammadu Buhari as President.