Vandalisation  and  Power  Supply

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By Bisi Koyejo

A program on  Channels  TV  recently  highlighted  the awfully negative  effect  of  vandalisation  of  gas  pipelines , nationwide , on the  poor   state  of electricity  generation  and distribution  in  Nigeria . While  security  agencies  bosses  interviewed  on  Channels  insisted that they were doing their best to protect Nigeria’s  vital  power  assets  they  admitted  that  they  faced  an uphill  task  in guaranteeing the  security  and  functionality  of  these  very  important  pipelines .Experts  on the  TV program were  at  pains  to  point  out     that  the  pipelines  carried  gas  needed  to generate  electricity   for  transmission  and  distribution  to  Nigerian  electricity  consumers  and this would  just  be impossible in the  face of  such  successful  and  persistent   vandalization bordering  on  economic  sabotage  with  impunity .

Given  such  a bad  situation on  generation of power which  is bound to  affect its  transmission  and subsequent  delivery , one  is really  taken  aback  by the insistence  of  a section of  the power  industry especially  the trade  unions to  vilify  the distribution  companies involved  in  electricity  delivery  for  poor  electricity  supply  and  going on to accuse  them of  exploitation  of the  Nigerian  masses for the new tariffs  approved  for  them sometime  ago  . Undoubtedly  the Labor  Unions influenced  the Senate  in stopping  the  new  tariffs  which  has led to the regulator  of the electricity  industry  the  Nigerian  Electricity Regulation  Commission  ,   NERC , taking  the  Senate  to  Court . With  the  Unions  hailing  the  Senate with  which  it never sees eye to eye on  anything as  quite  patriotic  in  illegally  stopping the  tariff  approved  legitimately  by the body  empowered  to  do  so legally  in  Nigeria .

The  Channels  program  has  been  an  eye  opener  to  many  Nigerians  who  smelt  a rat  in the   ever  ready  and  incessant  castigation  of the distribution companies called  discos .    From  experience  on privatization matters we   thought  it was  just  a case of sour  grapes  stemming   from   resentment  of the   new  disco  owners     because   of  the  huge  capital   they  had  put  into  the business .  We   thought   that  the unions  wanted  to  show the new  owners  of  the  discos  that  unions  have  to  be recognized  as before  when  the  distribution  was a public sector  affair   even  though  the unions know  fully  well  the owners  of discos were hard  nosed  Nigerian  businessmen  who  had  put their  huge investment  into  the power  sector  because  they  believe  in   the  Nigerian  economy . No  one  expected  the  labor  unions ,in  full  knowledge  of  the problem  of  vandalisation  nationwide  to  be leading  the  fight  to call  the  dog a bad name in order to  hang it in the  way  and manner  they have championed  the cause  of  vilifying  the  discos  for  poor  electricity  supply  in the  face  of rampant  vandalisation  of  pipe lines expected  to be used to generate  electricity  in the first  instance .

To  Nigerians  who  watched  that  Channels  program  the  unions  have  been misleading the Nigerian  public  in painting  the discos  as power  sharks exploiting  Nigerians in the supply  of electricity when indeed it is fellow Nigerians  vandalizing  the gas pipelines  nationwide  who  should  be held  responsible  for  a sheer  act of sabotage  or  outright hostility   and   felony  or  even  high  treason .

As  patriotic  and  much  respected public  institutions  in  the  labor  market , the union  leaders  are  enlightened  enough  to  know that  without regular  electricity  Nigeria  can  never  make  it in  terms  of  economic  development . Without  economic development  the fate  of the Nigerian  worker  is to  suffer  and struggle  to live  always on  subsistence level .  Yet   the  objective  of trade  unions  is  to promote  the progress  and  economic  welfare  of the Nigerian  worker . The  unions  will  do this better if they join hands  with  the security agencies in stopping those vandalizing  our pipelines  and  making the generation of electricity  an uphill  if  not  impossible task  . They  can  mobilise  their millions  of workers  positively  in  this regard so  that  they  can  keep  their jobs  in the  dwindling  numbers of industries  and  factories with spiraling  fixed  and running  costs  of  running  their  generators and standby  generators  to produce  goods  and  services  to keep  our economy  running . If  the  gencos  and discos  work  well  the  electricity  tariffs  will  be more  beneficial  to  workers and the economy  and such  success  will    rub  off  on  the trade  unions which  will  be seen as champion  of the masses . Which  will be a more  honest  and  commendable   way  to  promote  the fortune of the  Nigerian  worker   far  more  productive  and  patriotic  than  the present  deceit  of blaming  discos  for  poor  electricity   supply  when  we  all  know that  vandalisation  of  our  gas  pipelines  by  fellow  Nigerians is the real  culprit.

They  can  mobilise  their millions  of workers  positively  in  this regard so  that  they  can  keep  their jobs  in the  dwindling  numbers of industries  and  factories with spiraling  fixed  and running  costs  of  running  their  generators and standby  generators  to produce  goods  and  services  to keep  our economy  running . If  the  gencos  and discos  work  well  the  electricity  tariffs  will  be more  beneficial  to  workers and the economy  and such  success  will    rub  off  on  the trade  unions which  will  be seen as champion  of the masses . Which  will be a more  honest  and  commendable   way  to  promote  the fortune of the  Nigerian  worker   far  more  productive  and  patriotic  than  the present  deceit  of blaming  discos  for  poor  electricity   supply  when  we  all  know that  vandalisation  of  our  gas  pipelines  by  fellow  Nigerians is the real  culprit.

––Koyejo, an analysts, writes from Bauchi