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No evidence you’re addressing poor electricity, Reps tell Power minister

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Power on Tuesday directed the Power Minister to take urgent actions in resolving the current nationwide blackout…

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Power on Tuesday directed the Power Minister to take urgent actions in resolving the current nationwide blackout instead of giving excuses.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Magaji Da’u Aliyu, while speaking during a meeting with the minister lamented the seeming lackadaisical and fire brigade attitude of the ministry towards power issues each time there is a national emergency.

The minister, Abubakar Aliyu, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Nebolisa Anoka, had given reasons for the blackouts but the committee said there was nothing in his presentation to show that the ministry was solving the problems.

Aliyu had enumerated the challenges facing the sector to include low gas supply, low hydro levels, high cost of gas, as well as disequilibrium between power generation, transmission and distribution which led to the collapse of the national grid — and what the ministry had been doing to salvage the situation.

He explained that in response to the serious challenges facing power generation, the Ministry of Power recently hosted an emergency meeting with key stakeholders in the gas-to-power value chain, during which far reaching resolutions to ameliorate the situation were made.

According to him, the challenges “are not entirely predictable, but actions are being taken by the Federal Ministry of Power and other partner government MDAs to alleviate the challenges to the supply of electricity sustainability.”

Reacting to the presentation, Magaji said: “There is nothing to show in this presentation that you are trying to resolve the problems. It is a mere speech and thesis and my heart bleeds for this country.”

Aliyu had earlier explained that the special interactive session was necessitated by the fact that Nigerians were facing the worst energy crisis in recent times.

“The situation has affected businesses, both small and large, which is attracting huge public outcry,” he said, adding that Nigerians need urgent solution to the problem.

“There is nothing on ground to show that there will be light or generation of up to 5,000 megawatts, but we keep hearing about 30,000 megawatts of installed capacity across the power stations,” he said.

The lawmakers lamented that the unending projections by the ministry had never come to fruition. They accused the ministry and the managers of the power sector of deliberate conspiracy and sabotage to discredit the current administration.

The committee chairman in reaction to his colleagues called for the return of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) under the supervision of the Power Ministry, saying that both the ministry and the committee could not do much if the agency remained elsewhere.

Hon. Sada Soli (APC, Katsina), had noted that the concern raised by Gencos as the major reason for the blackout was the N1.4 trillion debt NBET owed them as cost of generated but unused electricity.

He also noted three major concerns ranging from the quantity, quality and cost of gas delivered to them for their operations.

The committee finally directed the permanent secretary to go back and return on Friday with more practical evidences of intended interventions, insisting that it was “more concerned with why we are where we are.”

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