Vandals Strike Nigeria’s Grid, Disrupt Power Supply

Nigeria Battles Rampant Vandalism, Electricity Woes Escalate

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe
Nigeria electricity vandalism

Nigeria’s struggle with electricity infrastructure sabotage has intensified, with two more transmission towers vandalized in February, causing significant disruptions in power supply. The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), the nation’s electricity utility firm, disclosed that insurgents targeted and destroyed two critical towers, T377 and T378, on the Gombe–Damaturu 330kV transmission line, leading to a loss of about 5MW of power. This sabotage, occurring on February 23, marks a concerning continuation of attacks on the country’s electricity framework.

The incident was first detected following a system trip on the Gombe-Damaturu line around 9:35 pm. Initial attempts by TCN engineers to restore the line were unsuccessful, leading to a detailed investigation that revealed the destruction of the towers. In response, TCN has rerouted power to Damaturu from the Potiskum Transmission Substation and is currently organizing repair efforts to rebuild the damaged infrastructure.

Earlier in the month, another act of vandalism was reported when TCN’s tower number 388 along the Jos-Bauchi line was found collapsed due to explosives detonated at its base. This attack not only resulted in a collapse but also cut off power supply to Yobe and Borno States, highlighting a pattern of targeted disruptions to Nigeria’s electricity supply.

The recurrence of such destructive acts is alarming, with TCN reporting that a total of 109 transmission towers were destroyed by vandals across Nigeria in just nine months last year. These incidents underscore the vulnerability of Nigeria’s electricity infrastructure to sabotage and the broader challenge of ensuring stable power supply amidst such threats.

The situation is particularly dire considering Nigeria’s ongoing electricity access issues. The World Bank has pointed out that access to electricity remains a significant challenge, with over 85 million Nigerians living without power as of 2021. Frequent power outages have become a norm, severely affecting businesses and the economy at large. According to Utility Bidder, Nigerian firms experience almost 33 power outages a month, ranking the country among the highest globally for business-related power disruptions.

The repeated vandalism of electricity infrastructure not only exacerbates the existing challenges of power access but also poses a significant threat to Nigeria’s economic stability and development. As the TCN and security agencies work to restore and secure the nation’s power supply, the need for effective solutions to safeguard infrastructure and ensure reliable electricity for all Nigerians has never been more critical.

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