Adebayo Adelabu, minister of power, has said that “saboteurs and cartels” are frustrating the federal government’s efforts to achieve a stable electricity supply in the country.

Adelabu spoke during a programme, tagged, ‘Confronting Nigeria’s Power Challenge as the Nation Migrates to a Multi-Tier Electricity Market’ on Tuesday in Abuja.

The programme was organised by the House of Representatives committee on power.

“We have saboteurs, cartels, and those who prefer to perpetrate evil for their selfish interests to frustrate our efforts,” Adelabu said.

Adelabu said all efforts must be geared towards propelling the country to the league of productive nations, adding that Nigeria is looking at reserves that would eliminate incessant power collapses.

He said the federal government is also considering the liberalisation of the power sector.

“We also encourage the state government to invest in power generation in their states,” the minister said.

Adelabu said Abia is one of the states that has invested in power, disclosing that the federal executive council (FEC) has also granted Ekiti and Enugu the right to generate tariffs — meaning that the states would be responsible for power generation, transmission, supply, trading, and system operations.

The minister also expressed concern that a lot of investors did not come with their private equity, saying they had to borrow money from the bank to operate in the sector.

He, however, said with time, investors would be made to operate the right way for the benefit of the sector.

The politician also said the federal government is planning on deepening rural electrification in collaboration with the state governments.

On electricity projects, Adelabu said there are over 100 uncompleted power projects across the country.

He said the projects would not be energy-efficient without being completed.

Also speaking, Kola Adeshina, the group managing director of Sahara Power Group, expressed regret that Nigeria cannot supply electricity efficiently despite its abundant gas resources.

He said if electricity was not a priority in the budget provision, it would be difficult for the country to work, stressing that Nigeria has the resources to double its power generation.

“If the executive brings an appropriation bill before you (lawmakers) and the power sector is not number two after defence, then don’t allow it,” Adeshina said.

Adeshina urged the government to prioritise industrial areas in power distribution.

“After the industrial areas have had light during the day, we can shift power at night to residential areas because production takes place during the day,” he said.

“Let’s sequence our investment along the line of value-added. Nigerians are resilient, we are strong, and we have tenacity. Nigerians are tired of power collapse.”

On April 22, the minister had said the federal government would sell off five electricity distribution companies (DisCos) under the management of banks and I’mAsset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in the next three months to technical power operators.

He also said the ministry would prevail on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to revoke underperforming licenses and change the management board of the DisCos — if it becomes the solution.