The question has been asked on the rationale for Nigeria to be supplying electricity to the neighbouring West African countries, Niger and Republic of Benin/Togo despite Nigeria’s acute power shortages.
Addressing the question at the monthly meeting of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Uyo Chapter, where he presented a paper on “Ibom power plant and the future of electricity in Akwa Ibom Sate and Nigeria”, the Managing Director of Ibom Power Company Limited, Engr. Meyen Etukudo said “the decision is both economic and political but more of economic”.
The MD, who until his appointment was the Assistant General Manager (330kV lines) Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and a member of International Lines, explained that it is economical because Nigeria receives payment from Niger and Republic of Benin/Togo for the electricity supplied to both countries in foreign currency.
Engr. Etukudo who is also a member of West African Power Pool (WAPP), a cooperation of the national electricity companies in Western Africa under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said two major power plants in Nigeria; Kainji and Jebba are hydroelectric plants fed by River Niger. “If Niger is allowed to dam the River Niger at Fouta Djallon for their power supply needs, the two hydro power plants in Nigeria with a combined capacity of over 1,200Megawatts (MW) will be adversely affected and Nigeria will lose more than the present power being supplied to Niger and Republic of Benin/Togo” he expatiated.
Meanwhile, in corroboration with the MD of Ibom Power on the economic benefit of power supply from Nigeria to neighbouring West African countries, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola disclosed via a communiqué issued at the end of the 15th monthly power sector meeting that a total sum of N48billion was received by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) from both Niger and Republic of Benin/Togo.
He said the payment was for electricity charges to the countries with a combined balance of $92million to be paid to NBET. The Minister stated the payments were made through the power companies, NIGELEC of the Republic of Niger and Community Electric du Benin (CEB) of the Republic of Benin.