Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria on Thursday, Sept. 30 laid a foundation block for the construction of a 50-megawatt gas turbine, an emergency power project initiated by the Nigerian Government for Maiduguri, the state capital.
The project was idealised by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC), the state owned oil company, as an emergency intervention to cushion the problem of power outage in the state capital and environs.
Maiduguri was thrown into darkness in Jan. 2021 following an attack on a major high tension power line by Boko Haram insurgents.
With all efforts to remedy the power problems being frustrated by the insurgents, the state approached Abuja for intervention.
Mele Kyari, the Group General Manager of NNPC had in April announced the approval of the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari for the establishment of a 50-megawatt turbine that would address the darkness situation in Maiduguri.
At a launch event in Maiduguri, Kyari said all the turbines which are major components of the plant have been procured and are due to arrive in the country in Oct. 2021.
The NNPC boss who is from Borno said the idea of siting the plant at the premises of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) sub-station along Baga road was in fulfilment of the universal standards.
“It is common practice that source of power is cited near the consumers; it is a best practice, and that is why the projects are brought here close to the immediate consumers,” he said.
He said the Maiduguri example of the gas turbine “could be a model for other cities in this country.”
Speaking at the event, Governor Zulum who had officially laid the foundation brick and mortar of the Maiduguri Emergency Power Plant (MEPP) said the construction of the plant came at a time when four additional power towers were grounded by the insurgents.
He said at the peak of fixing the towers that were earlier destroyed the insurgents went back to ground “additional four towers.” Governor Zulum said the situation was worrisome as it threatened the livelihood of the people especially the small and medium scale enterprises.
He said the power plant, when completed would “revitalise the economy for the greater prospect, and will also impact the economy positively. We are proud of the efforts of the GMD for ensuring that this happens here today,” he said.
Earlier, Yuguda Vungas, the state Commissioner for Housing and Energy, said since the attack on the power installation, the people of Borno State depended solely on generators and some few, on solar plants which were not sustainable sources of power, especially for the common man.
“We thank the President and the NNPC for bringing this intervention to the people of Borno state,” Vungas said.
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