By Dayo Johnson
AKURE – The Federal Government weekend, linked the resolution of the crisis in the volatile Niger Delta to the fulfilment of the President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua promise of increasing the countryâ€™s electricity power generation capacity to at least 6,000 megawatts by the end of this year.
It equally denied allegation that theÂ Power Holding Company of NigeriaÂ (PHCN) was cutting off some â€˜unimportant communitiesâ€™ from the national grid in order for some areas with heavy government presence in Federal Capital Territory to enjoy uninterrupted power supply.
The Minister of State for Power, Arch. Nuhu Wya, stated this in Akure while inspecting electricity transmission installations in Akure.
Way said â€œgovernment has invested billions of dollars in the construction of gas-powered power generation facilities all over the country but as long as we cannot get gas to supply to these installations, we cannot achieve our desire in that sectorâ€.
The Minister said the Niger Delta issue is crucial to the power sector because the expected improvement is about 70 percent hinged on the availability of gas which at present cannot be obtained because of the insecurity in the volatile region.
He blamed armed militancy, abduction of foreign nationals, destruction of gas facilities and general insecurity in the area which had made the region a no-go-area for international gas operators, as â€œthe bane of the laudable dreamâ€.
According to him, most of the power generation efforts of the Federal Government in the recent years were geared towards the consumption of the abundant gas resources of the country, which currently are being wasted by flaring with its attendant environmental disadvantages.
â€œTo achieve 6000 megawatts is possible in terms of generation and transmission but like you have heard from us, we have challenges because over 70 percent of our generation is coming through gas-fired turbines and with the challenges that we are having in the Niger Delta at the moment, the international oil companies are not able to deliver the gas as expected.â€