By Etuka Sunday with agency report
The Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, has issued a 48-hour ultimatum for Borno State to be reconnected to the national grid.
Wakil also disbanded the Technical Committee that was set up by the ministry under his chairmanship to oversee the protracted reconnection efforts.
The minister further directed the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to speed-up work on the 330/132/33 KVA sub-station in Damaturu which, when completed, will improve the quality of power supply to Borno and Yobe, stressing “Borno should have three sources of power supply from the national grid.”
Following the meeting with security and intelligence personnel on the blackout crisis, “resulting in a high level review of the situation on ground,” Wakil decided to take direct charge of the reconnection efforts.
“Borno people are no longer ready to take any further excuses for the continuous black-out”, the minister warned, while threatening sanctions for failure of relevant stakeholders to carry out his directives on the reconnection project.
His words: “You have 48 hours to restore electricity back to Maiduguri. I am taking over directly in terms of monitoring and ensuring compliance. Borno state will then get three sources of power, namely the 132 KV Gombe – Biu – Damboa – Maiduguri line, the 330 KV new sub -station on Damboa road in Maiduguri and the Damaturu 330/132/33kv, which should be completed as quickly as possible”.
Borno has had issues with persistent power outages in the recent past, on account of the armed conflict between and militant group, Boko Haram and the Federal Government.
Since 2005, the state has been a centre of fierce fighting between government security forces and the insurgents. In September 2014, military authorities and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) reached an agreement for the provision of security cover to TCN field engineers working on the reconnection of Borno State to the national grid, but these efforts remained largely unsuccessful.
Boko Haram insurgents had vandalised the 132 KVA power line from Damboa to Maiduguri, cutting power supply to the state.