The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has stated that likely sabotage by some electricity workers caused a fire outbreak that destroyed three transformers worth $4 million at the sub-regional switchyard of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State.
This comes as he warned electricity staff against vandalizing the national grid while embarking on industrial action.
Adelabu, who inspected the TCN in Osogbo, Osun State, on Friday, also lamented that during the last warning strike organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the national grid was attacked.
He issued a stern warning to electricity staff against the destruction of the national grid, noting that perpetrators would face the full force of the law.
“No matter what the circumstances are, nothing must push us to deliberately destroy these assets of national grid. I’m not against industrial actions, it is part of labour relations but when we are doing it, we must be conscious of what is our collective asset. Industrial actions will be resolved whether we like it or not but in the course of the action, what have we destroyed? Vandalising assets in the control centre is an economic crime that must be so treated. We need to talk to ourselves,” he said.
Speaking about inferno at Birnin-Kebbi, he said, “The fire outbreak in Kebbi, people are saying it’s sabotage, I’m not going to conclude it’s sabotage but it looks like it. How can three transformers catch fire simultaneously?
“We have set up a high-level investigation panel to see what led to that fire outbreak and I can assure you that if any of our staff is found wanting, such staff will face the wrath of the law. The person(s) will be severely dealt with, not because we derive joy in dealing with someone but to serve as a deterrent to others. What I want to adopt during my time here is a carrot and stick. If you perform well, we will reward and motivate you to do more but if you abandon your duty place or perform an act of sabotage, you will also face the law.
“The entire sector requires a lot of investment. Nigeria’s budget cannot be enough for all that we need which is why we are thanking our various partners. We have partners who are also supporting us and we cannot afford to disappoint them because they are putting down money and they want to see what we are doing. It takes us to the protection of these assets. These are national assets and they are precious assets to all of us. Nothing must happen to them because if you destroy these assets, it is an act of economic sabotage. It is also a threat to national security and this has to be legislated.”
Adelabu further disclosed, “We have written to the National Security Adviser (NSA) to strengthen our security around our establishment across the country so that what happened in Kebbi will not repeat itself elsewhere. I want to assure you that going forward, we are not going to experience such breakdown in our national grid.”