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Vandals  Destroy  108 Transmission Towers, Plunge Nation Into Darkness 

Daud Olatunji

In a series of brazen attacks between January 2022 and September this year, vandals wreaked havoc on Nigeria’s critical power infrastructure, destroying a staggering total of 108 transmission towers. 

The shocking data, obtained from the Transmission Company of Nigeria, paints a grim picture of deliberate sabotage.

The vandals left no stone unturned, crippling vital 132kV double circuit power transmission lines and 330kV double circuit lines. 

They even engaged in soil excavation that posed a dire threat to transmission towers, earning the stern condemnation of the Federal Government.

The rampage of destruction spanned across key regions, including Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Enugu, and Benin. 

The government swiftly took action, outsourcing repairs for some of the vandalized towers while deploying its in-house engineering teams to salvage others.

Analyzing the extent of the damage, the data reveals that the Abuja region suffered 27 tower vandalizations, with the Lagos region enduring nine. 

Kano bore the brunt of the destruction, with a staggering 52 towers damaged, while Enugu and Benin both saw ten towers fall victim.

This relentless campaign of destruction had dire consequences, with Nigeria’s power grid collapsing twice in September, casting the nation into widespread darkness.

 Both the government and frustrated consumers attributed these blackouts to acts of sabotage and the relentless assault on transmission facilities.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria, in a grim disclosure, revealed that 2023 alone witnessed over ten incidents of vandalism across its regions, with transmission towers under continuous attack. 

The Kano region, in particular, saw 49 towers vandalized, while Osogbo, Abuja, and Enugu regions each recorded their share of the destructive onslaught.

As a result of the widespread vandalism, residents in various areas were plunged into darkness for days, highlighting the urgent need to address this crisis. 

“Repair costs skyrocketed, with vital equipment, including copper conductors and cable lugs, falling victim to theft. Galvanized bolts and nuts worth hundreds of thousands of Naira were also plundered.

Even the Port Harcourt sub-region experienced its share of devastation, with multiple transmission lines bearing the brunt of vandals.

 The Benin region was not spared, with attackers targeting specific towers along a crucial transmission line.

The TCN condemned these acts of vandalism, branding the perpetrators as saboteurs and emphasizing the negative impact on the nation’s grid expansion efforts. 

The financial toll is significant, diverting resources that could have improved grid infrastructure toward replacing vandalized towers.

In response to this crisis, the TCN issued an impassioned appeal to host communities, urging them to collaborate in the fight against vandals. 

They encouraged reporting of any suspicious activities around transmission towers to security forces or local TCN offices.

The situation drew condemnation from the Nigerian Power Consumers Forum, which decried the disturbances on the national electricity grid and recent fire incidents near power transmission infrastructure. 

“Nigeria now faces a critical challenge in safeguarding its power infrastructure from these relentless acts of sabotage.

According to the TCN, on June 8, 2023, the linesmen of Benin region while patrolling the Benin/Ihovbor/ Osogbo 330kV double circuit line tower, discovered that Towers 30 to 34 were vandalised.

It stated, “The tower legs were sawed off and left to collapse, which could have been catastrophic, as it could have led to the loss of power supply and revenue and the probability of people getting electrocuted.

“The TCN management condemned the activities of these vandals, stating that their nefarious acts negatively impacted the grid expansion efforts of the company and are considered saboteurs. 

“In addition, resources that would have been used to further improve the grid infrastructure would now be used to replace the vandalised towers.

“TCN is again appealing to host communities to join hands in the fight against vandals, admonishing them to report suspicious movement around transmission towers to security operatives or the TCN office in the vicinity.”

 

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