The federal government announced yesterday that it had shortlisted 386 firms for power plants across the country.
This is just as Vice President Namadi Sambo assured that by 2016, power generation would hit 20,000mw, even as he urged all Nigerians to support the government's transformation agenda.
Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the second joint meeting of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) at the Presidential Villa.
He said a total of 110 submissions were received from those interested in 10 power plants from which the joint evaluation committee endorsed 82 submissions, bringing the number to 386 expressions of interest in the various plants.
"We have about 46 consortia and were shortlisted for Bariam Power Plant, 44 for Benin Power Plant, 42 for Omotosho, 41 for Egbema, 41 for Omoku, 39 for Geregu, 37 for Calabar and 36 for Ogwurode, 30 for Olaojeand 30 for Oloronshogo, amounting to 386," the governor stated.
Suswam explained that there was need for the Ministry of Power to create the awareness that Nigerians were the ones to tackle pipeline vandalisation because "electricity is not Jonathan's electricity; it is meant for Nigerians. So, if you are sabotaging it, you are not sabotaging the federal government - you are sabotaging the entire Nigerians."
According to Suswam, "The reason for people to carry out this act of vandalism is within them, because it is something that is beyond explanation. Some people try to vandalize for all kinds of reasons; why they engage in this act of sabotage. I agree with you that many serious arrests have been made, just like the issue of crude oil theft that is going on in this country. I think the seriousness given to this by the federal government to make sure that they arrest whoever that is involved in this act of sabotage is something that should give comfort to Nigerians.
"Otherwise, 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, except to say that this is an act of madness, otherwise any reasonable person should rejoice at the fact that the things that are given to Nigerians should be protected by all Nigerians . That is a challenge to the minister, to ensure Nigerians are sensitized and be more conscious of the fact that this electricity is not Jonathan's electricity; it is electricity meant for Nigerians. So if you are sabotaging it, you are not sabotaging the federal government; you are sabotaging the entire Nigerians".
For his part, the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, noted that the vandalisation of gas pipelines was politically motivated and disclosed that 460 megawatts of electricity was lost to the low water level of Kainji, Shiroro and Jeba dams.
The minister said, "I think it is instructive for the entire populace to know what has been happening recently. It is no news now that a couple of months ago, the western axis of the gas pipeline leading to the power plants in the west were cannibalized, resulting in very severe damage that caused a sharp drop in power supply. That is since being addressed and the damages are being repaired."
"Unfortunately a couple of weeks ago the Akoloma plant in the Easton axis was also vandalized, the damages as quiet extensive, but a crack team of experts went to work and restored it bringing out gas supply. And ensured that the shut down axis was open and then the Afam both four and six were onboard again.
"But unfortunately when people were rejoicing in parts of the country where power supply was stabilizing another sabtage was discovered a few day ago and Akoloma was also vandalized bt right now it also been 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. These are the reasons in aaddition to the fact that water level in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba are quiet low right now and the water level needs to be properly managed so that the plants will operate optimally."