- As FG accuses electricity union of attacking its officials on duty
Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, on Monday accused the ministry of power, a federal establishment he currently superintends as a junior minister, of being responsible for Nigeria’s current challenges in the electricity sector.
Shehuri said in Abuja when the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) inducted 100 graduate engineers for further training on power systems under its National Graduate Skills Development Programme (NGDSP) that since he was appointed he had realised that the ministry was the reason why Nigeria’s power sector has remained undeveloped.
He went on to say that the ministry was in fact pulling back the country’s power sector from moving forward, but assured that the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari is working to change the way things are done in the ministry.
Shehuri also disclosed in what looks like a new power generation target that by 2020, the government plans to ensure that Nigeria generates 25,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, despite Nigeria’s repeated failure to achieve past power generation targets.
While buttressing the comments earlier made the keynote speaker at the event, Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu, the minister explained that the progress of Nigeria’s power sector had been frustratingly slow considering that the country’s first electricity generation firm was set up in 1896 in Ijora, Lagos with a capacity of 20MW.
“As the past speaker said, the journey from 1896 to 2016, that is 120 years, has been very long, slow and frustrating. And I think Nigerians deserve better than this. I came to the ministry of power some four or five months back and I am privileged to know the troubles.
“I understand the ministry is the reason why Nigeria is not moving forward. It has been pulling back Nigeria from independence till date and I believe this government is here to change this for the better. I assure the inductees that after four years of this government, it will hand over to Nigerians a power sector that is better than what is obtainable today,” said Shehuri.
When asked to give specific instances or reasons for his judgement, the minister simply told reporters to work with what he said and that there was need for further clarification.
He further said: “Nigeria’s plan is to continually increase the level of electricity generation to the target of 25,000MW by the year 2020. This can only be achieved through a robust infrastructural development accompanied with a competent technical workforce. This is a national developmental agenda which the ministry of power is committed to.”