29 December 2014, Lagos – Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ikeja Electric (IE) (formerly Ikeja Electricity Distribution (IKEDC), Engr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, has said the country’s transition to uninterrupted power supply is work in progress.
He expressed confidence that the advent of privatisation in the power sector will deliver the expected dividend. Ajifowobaje who spoke with The Nation, however cautioned Nigerians that they should not be unmindful of the time it will take the country to reach the desired levels of gas availability, infrastructure, human capital and financial backing, which are all critical ingredients for a complete transformation of the sector.
According to him, so far, the best thing that has happened to the power sector is its privatisation. This is because prior to privatisation, the industry was in need of fresh investments to boost capacity and supply. Privatisation, the IE boss explained, has given the sector a boost, especially with the introduction of private sector initiative, including private funding, which he noted, is completely changing its operational framework all over the country.
He however said the persistent problem of vandalism of electrical equipment constitutes a major challenge to timely realisation of the goal.
Vandalism, he further said, is like a virus which is destroying the power industry in Nigeria with colossal socio-economic implication.
“It throws communities into darkness and hit the commercial and industrial activities of the affected areas. “We should work together to stop the activities of vandals and those that specialise in energy theft and destruction of power facilities and installations,” he said.
He recalled that one year ago when IE took over the electricity distribution under the privatisation scheme, there were 42 transformer substations out of circuit due to vandalism. To curb or reduce this incident from further occurrence, he said that his firm had to engage in public enlightenment on the effect of vandalism. This has also been further boosted by way of partnering with security agencies in Lagos State in tackling the menace, as well as being in constant touch with the community leaders and propping them to assist in securing the equipment in their domains.
– The Nation