Abuja - The Federal Government on Monday said the gas pipelines vandalism, responsible for the loss of about 1 600 megawatts of electricity, was largely, politically motivated.
Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, said this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of joint meeting of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and National Council on Privatisation (NCP).
The meeting, presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo had in attendance Governors Gabriel Suswam of Benue, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Theodore Orji of Abia.
"I think it is instructive for the entire populace to know what has been happening recently.
"It is important to note that with regard to the busting of gas pipelines and vandalism of the pipelines that bring gas to the generating plants, it is not any significant in commercial value behind the action.
"It is sheer madness and may be essentially politically motivated just to cause damage to the entire country and to Nigerians.
"The ones that we find to be commercially motivated are also very painful. For instance, one of our Distribution Companies (DISCO) encountered vandalism of transformers.
"What these young men steal from the transformers is copper.
"When you now put the total sum of the most recent one that they vandalised, all the copper they collected that they will sell as scrap, was not worth up to N10 000.
"But, in the interim they have knocked off one million people from power supply and also of course it caused the DISCO N27 million to fix the damage.
Nebo recalled that about few months back, the western axis of the gas pipeline leading to the power plants in the west was cannibalised.
He said the vandalism resulted in very severe damages that caused a sharp drop in power supply.
"That has since been addressed and the damages are being repaired; but unfortunately a couple of weeks ago, the Akoloma plant in the Eastern axis was also vandalised.
"The damages are quiet extensive, but a crack team of experts went to work and restored it.
"The team brought out gas supply and ensured that the shut down axis was open and the Afam, both four and six, were on board again.
"But unfortunately when people were rejoicing in parts of the country where power supply was stabilising, another sabotage was discovered a few day ago and Akoloma was also vandalised.
"Right now it is also being addressed and it is hoped that as they finish the evacuation of the condensed stage that they will start pumping gas.
"And we are hoping that the plant in Afam will be back running in a few days time,’’ he said.
The minister also said that water level in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba hydro power plants "are quiet low right now" and also partly responsible for the power drop.
He said the low water level of the dams was responsible for a loss of about 460 megawatts of electricity from the total 1 600 loss.
"We are hoping with the help of nature, it will come on board very shortly so that the 460 Mega Watts already lost because of water level will be recovered,’’ he said.
Speaking in same vein, Suswam said that the consistent vandalism of the gas pipelines was an act of sabotage.
He said government must intensify efforts at arresting those responsible for the act and bring them to book.
"The efforts and the huge amount of money being expended by government to ensure Nigerians enjoy constant supply of electricity is being sabotaged by some unknown individuals whose motivation is actually not known to anybody.
"The challenge to the minister is to ensure that Nigerians are sensitised and be more conscious of the fact that this electricity is not Jonathan's electricity; it is electricity meant for Nigerians,’’ he said.