From. Sadiq abubakar Maiduguri
The Federal Government blamed the prolonged power outage in Borno state on sabotage and the Boko Haram insurgents.
Alhaji Mohammed Wakil, the Minister of State for Power stated this in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media Mr Olawale Rasheed and made available to journalists in Maiduguri.
According to statement, federal government had made several attempts at restoring the power supply, which was cut off in June 2014 when suspected boko haram insurgents attack gidan waya village along Damboa where the Damboa power sub station is installed and connects Maiduguri city and Niger Republic.
“The Federal Ministry of Power has repeatedly moved to reconnect Maiduguri to national grid but insurgency and sabotage have so far delayed the realization of that goal.
“In the last seven months when the power lines and substation at Damboa were attacked, the ministry through the Transmission Company of Nigeria ( TCN) has made at least seven attempts to rectify the problem but on each occasion the officials were attacked”.
It added:“On two occasion, the reconnection were successfully accomplished with parts of Maiduguri enjoying power supply.
“This was however short lived as the lines were again vandalized less Than five hours after.”
The statement also said that the development prompted the Ministry of Power to seek assistance from the military towards the reconnection.
“The Minister of State Power, Alhaji Mohammed Wakil held meetings with military chiefs to request for special security cover which was granted and this led to the latest attempt by the ministry to reconnect the state.
“It was widely reported that the insurgents again attempted to attack the TCN staff but were ambushed by the accompanied military team”.
The statement further stated that `In that brave defense of the power officials, the military lost an officer and two soldiers with seventy five insurgents killed while many other sustained injuries.”
It explained also that the power lines covered a wide range of area, making it difficult to police. “It should be put on record that power lines run several kilometers across the state.
“It is practically impossible to physically police the lines from Damboa to Maiduguri which is also widely known as an insurgency belt”.
The statement however said, “It was due to the bravery of our officials and the military that that the Damboa sub-station has been repaired but the power lines remain susceptible to vandalization.
“The ministry is thus using this medium to alert the public that sabotage and insurgency are two evil mix that is stalling the restoration of power to the state.” It expressed shock that the black out had been politicized by some individuals trying to score cheap political points.
According to the statement, there are strong evidences suggesting that some disgruntled forces are deliberately vandalising power lines as a weapon of blackmail against the Federal Government.
“The blackout crisis has thus become politicized with those dark forces deriving joy in stopping power supply to Borno in other to score cheap political points,”.
It added that “Public infrastructures belong to the citizens,not to one ortwo political leaders. To embark on systematic destruction of power lines and other utilities for political end is uncharitable and an action that should be condemned by all and sundry. Protection of public utilities in Borno or elsewhere should not become instrument of politics as the welfare of our people are at stake.”
“The ministry is however not relenting in its efforts to reconnect the state and defeat the twin evil of insurgency and sabotage. We thank our people for their understanding and we assure them that before long the blackout will be a thing of the past,”
Source: Sadiq abubakar Maiduguri