The Minister of for Energy (Power) Hajia Fatima Balaraba Ibrahim warned against movement by unauthorized persons within the nation’s power installations, describing as sabotage, the spate of vandalization of electricity installations.
The Minister who said no one is authorized to work on any power installation beyond 7 pm, described last Sunday's vandalization of PCHN as "clear case of unprecedented" sabotage on the National power grid.
A 330KV transmission lines from Ikeja west to (Lagos) to Aiyede, was vandalized throwing five states of Oyo,Ogun, Osun,Ondo and Lagos into total darkness.
Balaraba, who painted the gruesome pictures of the sabotage to Energy Correspondent also said it had never happened that vandals would take so much effort, resources and time to bring down huge 330kv towers at two different places without stealing an inch of cable.
Describing the incident as deliberate act of sabotage to bring down the economic activities of the states served by these lines, she said that the federal government has declared one million Naira reward to anyone who has information on the criminals.
"The Patrol team of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) later found that the 330Kv Tower No.395 off Oko-Baba, near Abeokuta had fallen, as four legs of the tower were observed to have been cut with saw.
"It was more surprising that nothing was removed suggesting a clear act of sabotage and not ordinary vandalism," she maintained.
She said the reconstruction of the fallen tower and beefing up security will cost between N15-N20 million, excluding the loss of revenue to PHCN.
She said that the tower would also take not less than a month of relentless work to rebuild, which mean that the affected states would have to remain without power from the utility company.
She then noted that after the first incident had occurred, last Wednesday the same group again fell another 330KV tower on the same Ikeja West – Aiyede 330kv Transmission line, saying the tower is No.507, close to Temperance Farms, Ota.
"The mode of operation was observed to be the same as that of the fallen Tower No.395. The three legs of the tower were cut with saw thereby collapsing the tower with the fourth leg pulled out of its foundation.Again nothing was removed!" she remarked.
"Althoutg the country has been fighting acts of vandalism in the energy sector for long", she said "these latest ones on the transmission system are unprecedented as they are clear sabotage through wanton destruction, and this is a declaration of war on Nigeria", she said.
She said that electric power grid system of any nation is its backbone for socio-economic development, noting that when it is attacked as if it is an enemy attacking during war situation, such unpatriotic acts calls for national re-think and prompt collective action in order to speedily reverse the ugly trend.
It is not enough to promise N1 million if indeed this is sabotage those behind it must be brought to book. PHCN must act to protect our propertu.