In a rare admission, Nigeria’s federal government has acknowledged the poor state of public electricity supply in Africa’s most population nation of 160 million people, saying only 40 million of the population (25%) have access to power supply.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo announced the figure on Wednesday in the capital city of Abuja.
The government’s statement came at a time of worsening power supply in the country, which the minister blames on systems failure and sabotage.
“The power situation in the last three weeks is a nightmare. We have not had the kind of system failure like we have had in the last three weeks. For instance, Bayelsa State (President Goodluck Jonathan’s home state) was knocked out for three weeks as a result of a breakdown on one of the transmission lines.
“It took about 12 days to restore power in the state using temporary measures. Another one happened in (the northern state of) Kebbi. There is also man-made vandalism. Funding is part of the nightmare we are facing,” the local media Thursday quoted the minister as saying.
Most Nigerians depend on electricity generators for power supply to their homes and businesses, as the country’s power monopoly has failed woefully to meet public demand.
Nigeria generates just about 4,000 mega watts of electricity, which is considered highly inadequate to meet the demands of its population.
In contrast, South Africa with about one third of Nigeria’s population generates about 40,000MW.
Nigeria has resorted to privatisation, which is ongoing, to raise power generation and improve transmission.