Nigeria, US sign $9m per year Power Plan

*Babatunde Raji Fashola, Nigeria's minister of Power.

*Babatunde Raji Fashola, Nigeria’s minister of Power.

…Nigeria suffers huge loss due to pipeline vandalism – Fashola

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

24 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has reiterated the huge loss the nation suffers as a result of the vandalisation of gas pipelines across the country.

Fashola said this at the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony for a $9 million per year Power Africa Energy Distribution Initiative (PAEDI) between the ministry and the United States government.

He noted that at a time when the world is in serious pursuit of clean energy to mitigate the impact of climate change and global warming, gas fired plants provide a useful source of quick, large capacity electricity plants which can take the nation faster to its roadmap of incremental power.

The minister, who was represented by the special adviser to the minister on policy and legal matters, Mr. Olanrewaju Akinsola, lamented that some persons had attempted to turn a potential source of growth, development, and shared prosperity into a source of risk, poverty, and pollution.

“My recent visit to Oji River coal power plant in Enugu, which used to supply most, if not all, of Eastern Nigeria, showed that not only is the power plant no longer in use, most of its operating parts had been dismantled.”

Clarifying the effects of gas pipeline vandalism, he noted that every time a petroleum pipeline is damaged, the oil goes into the water and farmlands and destroys any opportunity for fish farming and agriculture.

“Every time an oil pipeline is damaged, oil production stops, so does the sale of crude oil, and this means that the income that Nigeria will earn for the federal government, state governments, and local governments will reduce. Do these people think about the workers who have not received salaries because of dwindling revenue when they attack oil pipelines? Is this hurting the Nigerian government or ordinary working Nigerians?” he queried.

He said that the President Buhari administration had just concluded plans to start a clean-up of the pollution in the Niger Delta, and urged those who are behind these ill-thought actions to remember that it is their water and farmlands, not oil, that will produce food to feed this and upcoming generations.

In his remark, US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, said that improving the performance of the distribution companies (Discos) is a high priority, adding that they are the starting point for improving the entire power sector value chain.

According to him, as part of the memorandum, United States-trained specialists will be stationed at the three selected distribution companies of Abuja, Eko, and Benin distribution companies.

“The specialists will focus on improving performance, enabling the distribution companies reduce their losses and improve revenue collections from customers.” he said.

He added that with the signing of the MOU, the US government had reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the development of the entire power sector in Nigeria.

“It is our expectation that the joint effort will improve the lives of countless Nigerians and serve as a model for other African countries,” he said.

Representatives of Eko, Abuja, and Benin distribution companies, who are the beneficiaries, expressed appreciation to the US government initiative.

They jointly expressed concern at the level of pipeline vandalism across the country which had greatly affected the quality and quantity of power supplied to the people.

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