From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has said over $1.9 million has been lost in the last five days due to the disruption of gas supply to the Ossiomo power plant in Ologbo, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of the state.
Ossiomo power project is a brainchild of the Governor Obaseki-led government to make the state self-sustaining in power supply.
The 95MW facility was birthed through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Ossiomo Power Company to power government offices and hospitals, as well as streetlights in Benin metropolis.
Emotan Gardens Estate, Edo Tech Park, Edo Creative Hub, among others, all enjoy 22 to 24 hours of stable electricity supply daily. The power is being extended to the Edo Enterprise and Industrial Park to spur industrialisation.
Obaseki, who received members and executives of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South South Zone, led by its Chairman, Israel Ege, at the Government House, Benin, called for urgent action to reverse the troubling situation.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Philip Shaibu, said the failure of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to ensure steady electricity supply to Edo people led to the establishment of Ossiomo power to liberate the people from darkness.
He said: “You talked about Ossiomo power plant, which is why I said Nigeria’s problems are man-made. For the past five days, Ossiomo has not been working because someone went to switch off the gas station and now, no gas to power the system. The inability of the plant to supply electricity to the people is causing Nigeria to lose over $1.9 million. We are losing revenue and nobody cares about that. Instead, they are just sitting in Abuja doing nothing about it,” he said.
On the challenges with the old system, he said: “We sold our collective heritage all in the name of privatising the power sector; we sold them to people that never understood or had the idea of developing the electricity sector or solving our electricity problems. Rather, they bought it and want to make profit in the shortest possible time. They failed to invest but want to reap and make profit. They are the reason we are all in darkness in Nigeria.
“We have the Ossiomo power plant because BEDC refused to work. We tried to help BEDC to work but it just refused to work and preferred to put the people in darkness.
“We set up a committee to understand what the issues were; we went to villages and communities to ensure we defrayed the debt owed BEDC. We put in our best as a government in ensuring we support and encourage them to ensure they serve and work for the people.
“We decided not to follow them but took our destiny in our hands and worked out an agreement with investors and that gave birth to the Ossiomo power plant in Edo State.
“Ossiomo began to work and powering government offices but, as at today, the power plant has been sabotaged and it’s no longer working.
“Some persons have tampered with the flow station supplying gas to power the plant and now we are losing millions of dollars due to this action.”