Ijeoma Agudosi/Joseph Bakare
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has said that Nigeria has the highest number of breaks and vandalism of key petroleum products pipelines which has negatively impacted on power generation..
This has caused generation to drop from 3,642 megawatts (MW) to about 3,000mw as vandals burst the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System, ELPS Gas Pipeline in Delta State.
Nebo who made the disclosure at the unveiling of 25 kilowatts (kW) hybrid renewable plant constructed by the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) in Kainji, Niger State, said currently, no country in the world records the number of petroleum pipeline breaks like Nigeria.
“There is no other country in the world where gas pipelines is destroyed other than Nigeria. We have never seen a set of people that can be as wicked to themselves as we have in some Nigerians who are bent on perpetrating their wicked acts on our gas pipelines”, said the minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Godknows Igali.
The latest attack, which was confirmed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, in a statement has reduced gas supply and by extension power generation.
The pipeline is important as it is dedicated to delivering gas from Escravos to Lagos for power generation.
“Vandals struck at the Escravos- Lagos Pipeline System, ELPS Gas Pipeline at Inikorogha, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State, blasting away about 24 inches of the pipeline,” it disclosed.
The General Manager, Public Affairs of TCN, Mrs. Seun Olagunju in the statement, indicated that the latest act of sabotage by unscrupulous Nigerians has once again affected gas supply to electricity generation and resulted in the reduction of generated power to the national grid.
She stated, “The vandals also struck the Trans- Forcados Pipeline a month ago and while restoration efforts were being completed, they struck again, it stressed.
“You may recall that early in February, the Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo signed several MoUs with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Youth Matters and several NGOs to embark on sensitization of Nigerians to desist from acts of vandalism and report any plan to vandalize gas and power infrastructure.”
The company assured that the Federal Government was unrelenting in efforts to check these acts of sabotage, including introducing sophisticated technology, in order to provide more reliable and stable power supply to the people.
Stakeholders said the gas pipeline vandalism and other challenges may affect government’s ability to meet set target in the sector this year.
The minister noted recently at the launch of an interactive customer framework to improve service delivery to electricity that the menace of pipeline vandalism was taking a great toll on electricity generation in the country.
Fielding questions from journalists on government’s ongoing plan to deploy digital security measures to protect critical pipeline networks in the country, Nebo said the country records only about four days of gas flow in a week before vandals attacked the pipelines conveying gas to power plants.
“For instance, as we speak, we have only four days that are vandals-free. We have 53 days of vandalism. We have only had four days of free flow of gas without vandalism. That tells you how horrible the situation with vandalism is.
“Vandalism is affecting our capacity to generate electricity. We are hoping that in the next two weeks, with the other pipelines that are being repaired and the ones that are being serviced are put in use, we will have been back to, an even beyond where we are,” Nebo said.
He said: “When you are talking about thousands of kilometres on one stretch, to police this is not easy, because when these things were instituted or installed, nobody thought that Nigerians would hate themselves enough to directly vandalise the pipelines.
“What we are now trying to do using the various security agencies, especially the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Navy, Army, Police, and so on, is to make sure that these places are garrisoned. But this will not stop the problem.”
The most critical, he said, is what Mr. President is trying to do now, deploy resources to digitally survey the pipelines. It is very expensive. “But we have to do that. Until that happens, we still have to worry about vandalism.”
He added that, “But again, it is teaching us that we can’t just depend on gas. We have to do coal to power. We are already doing that. We have to do solar. Some licenses have been issued. We are doing more of the small to medium hydros as well. So, diversification of the energy mix is what would help us to surmount this.”