Minister Blames Borno Blackout on Insurgency, Sabotage

Wakili Mohammed

The Federal Government has repeatedly moved to reconnect Maiduguri to national grid but insurgency and sabotage have so far delayed the realisation of that goal, the Minister of State Power, Mohammed Wakil has disclosed.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Olawale Rasheed, the minister said “the last seven months when the power lines and sub-station at Damboa were attacked and vandalised, the ministry through the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has made at least seven attempts and on each occasion, the officials were attacked.
“On two occasions, the reconnection was successfully accomplished with parts of Maiduguri enjoying power supply. This was however short-lived as the lines were again vandalised less than five hours after. The Minister of State Power, Mohammed Wakil proceeded to meet military chiefs to request for special security cover which was granted and which led to the latest attempt by the ministry to reconnect the state.
“It is widely reported that insurgents again attempted to attack the TCN staff but were ambushed by the accompanied military task force. In that brave defence of the power officials, the military lost an officer and two soldiers with seventy five insurgents killed. Many other sustained injuries.
“It should be put on record that power lines run several kilometres 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. It was due to the bravery of our officials and the military that that the Damboa substation has been repaired but the power lines remain susceptible to vandalisation.
“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. There are strong evidence 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. This is inhuman and anti- people.
“Public infrastructures belong to the citizens, not to one or two 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”, the statement concluded

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