A total of 108 power transmission towers were destroyed by vandals in various parts of the country between January 2022 and September this year, data obtained from the Transmission Company of Nigeria on Monday has revealed.
It was gathered that the vandals destroyed 132kV double circuit power transmission lines, 330kV double circuit lines, and carried out soil excavation that threatened transmission towers, just as the Federal Government described the development as a sabotage.
The vandalisation of transmission towers occurred in the Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Enugu, and Benin regions, though the government, through TCN, had contracted out the repairs of some of the vandalised towers.
It had also deployed in-house engineers of the transmission company to work on other vandalised towers.
An analysis of data from the transmission company showed that 27 towers were vandalised in the Abuja region during the review period, while nine towers were destroyed in the Lagos region.
The Kano region recorded the highest number of destroyed transmission towers, as 52 towers were vandalised in the region during the review period, while 10 towers were shattered in each of the regions of Enugu and Benin.
Nigeria’s power grid had collapsed twice in September, throwing the country into widespread blackout in both cases.
The government and consumers blamed this on sabotage and destruction of transmission facilities.
According to information obtained by The PUNCH, TCN stated that in 2023 llalone, it had recorded over 10 incidents of vandalism at different degrees across its regions, especially attacks on its transmission towers.
It stated, “In the Kano region of TCN, 49nos. towers were vandalised; Osogbo region, 51; Abuja region, 19; Enugu region, 18; among others. Nine towers, from Tower 56 to Tower 65 along the Papalanto/Abeokuta 132kV transmission line, located in the Obafemi Owode area of Ogun State, were all massively vandalised, leading to their collapse on May 23, 2023.
“As a result, Abeokuta and its environs were out of power supply for some days as the company had to supply bulk electricity through an alternate line, to enable Ibadan Disco (distribution company) to distribute electricity to its customers whose supply was affected by the incident.
“In the same vein, there were frequent activities of vandals in the TCN Aba sub-region in August 2023, with repair costs totalling about N23. They include 122No earthing copper conductors and 244No copper cable lugs with N366,000 worth of galvanised bolts and nuts carted away.”
It added that at the Port Harcourt sub-region, some cases of vandalism included Owerri Ahoada 132kv DC Line (T199 – T211), IPP/Elelenwo 132kv DC Line (T40, T43, T52 and T53), Owerri/Ahoada 132kv Line (T203 – T217), Ahoada/Yenagoa 132kv Line (T19 – T31) and IPP/Elelenwo 132kv Line (T40).
“Uyo Work Centre has only one case of vandalism at Itu T/S where an underground cable connected to the generator was vandalised.
“The Benin region was not left out of the nefarious acts as vandals attacked towers 30 to 33 along the Ihovbor-Osogbo-Benin-Osogbo double circuit transmission line, cutting the legs of the four towers, but they did not collapse and therefore did not interrupt bulk power transmission on that line.”
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 further 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.”
On Friday, The PUNCH reported that the Nigerian Power Consumers Forum condemned the spate of disturbances on the national electricity grid and the recent fire incidents around power transmission infrastructure.