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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday apologised to Nigerians over the prolonged fuel scarcity and frequent power outages being experienced across the country.
Buhari said the shortage of petroleum products was something his government had successfully averted in its seven years in office.
Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, also yesterday, likened the worsening power situation across the country to a war situation. But Aliyu assured that the federal government was doing everything possible to resolve the situation
However, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) explained that the power situation was caused mainly by the activities of vandals on the country’s gas supply assets.
Buhari, in a statement issued yesterday by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the blackouts seen in the national grid were being addressed.
According to him, “A dip in hydroelectric generation due to seasonal pressures has coincided with technical and supply problems at thermal stations. On this, the government is also working tirelessly to resolve the issues at the latter to guarantee sufficient power flows into the national grid.
“As part of emergency measures put in place following a meeting convened with key stakeholders to address the low power generation in the country, the main challenge was identified as being one of low gas power generation as a result of sabotage of gas pipelines, leading to shutdown of power plants, coupled with on-going routine maintenance on other gas power plants.
“To recover over 1000MW, actions were agreed upon between the players in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and also NNPC. The actions targeted the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) plants, (Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and power plants run under NNPC Joint Ventures, Agip, and Shell (NAOC and SPDC) and progress on the key actions have already ensured the restoration to the grid of 375MW after the pipeline from ‘Okpai 1’ was repaired.
“To also ramp up the underutilised capacity of the NDPHC capacity, a USD 50 Million Gas Supply agreement is being finalised to secure the sustainability of up to 800MW of underutilised NIPP assets.”
The president assured that government’s attention to these problems would bear fruits soon. He said his administration knew that the fuel shortage had placed a strain on citizens and businesses and gave an assurance that relief was on the way.
Buhari said, “I specially apologise to all sections of the society for this.
“The government is working round the clock to attend to this issue. An action plan agreed earlier this month is being implemented to address the scarcity. Working together with the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), this plan is now bearing fruit.
“Sufficient fuel supply has returned to a handful of states, with the queues at stations falling. In the coming days, we expect this to be the case across the rest of the country.
“Looking to the longer term, funds are being targeted toward keeping fuel availability affordable for the country. The international energy markets have surged drastically in recent months; the government will, however, ensure that consumers are protected against these price spikes.”
The president added that he had received information that some people were not behaving properly at the depots and among owners of petrol stations and in this regard, he directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), NNPC, and the entire security apparatus of the country to take strong action against those responsible.
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.