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Corpses decompose in Barracks as power cuts persist

Corpses decompose in Barracks as  power cuts persist

The Nigerian Army has raised concerns about the consequences of the power cut in the army barracks, citing among others that corpses are decomposing prompting their owners to embark on protests.

The Chief of Army Staff (CAS) Lt. General Taoreed Abiodun Lagbaja, who disclosed while on appeal visit to the Minister of power, Adebayo Adelabu, for his intervention for the clearance of the backlog of electricity bill of over N42 billion, described the prevailing situation in barracks as security threats.

It would be recalled that the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc (AEDC), had earlier this month threatened to disconnect power supplies to government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), including the Presidential Villa which are indebted to it, unless the concerned MDAs liquidate their respective debts.

President Bola Tinubu hastened and ordered for the payment of N342 million out of the disputed bill of N923 million according to AEDC record.

Lagbaja regretted that some barracks and cantonments since January have been in total blackout.

He further stated that it is impossible for the Army to raise funds to pay the entire debt and solicited for liquidation as was done in 2005 by the then President.

He assured the Minister of the army’s unflinching support towards developing intelligence strategies in curbing the menace of electricity infrastructure vandalism.

On his part, the Minister of power informed Lagbaja that the debts cannot be wiped off but can only be restructured for payment on monthly basis.

The Special Adviser, Strategic Communication and Media Relations, Bolaji Tunji, quoted the Minister as reiterating the importance of liquidity and funding in the sector adding that the debts could not be written off but the Minister will intervene in order to restructure the debt payment if there was assurance of regular payment by the Nigerian Army.

Adelabu further revealed that debt owed by distribution and Generating Companies (GENCOs) is not the only challenge bedevilling the Power sector, he added that vandalization of power infrastructure which often lead to National grid collapse, theft, inefficiency in billing and collection process, poor metering gap, liquidity , shortage in gas supply, transmission stations being blown up with explosives in volatile areas are all part of the issues being experienced in the Power sector.

The Minister who acknowledged that Power outages is not peculiar to army barracks but a national issue said the DISCOs and GENCOs are profit-oriented organizations and “we can only plead with them to adopt a repayment plan on a monthly basis instead of embedding the whole debt in their meter.

While encouraging the Army to continue assisting the Ministry in safeguarding power facilities across the nation, the Minister pledged to seek collaboration for the Army through any of the development partners for installation of Solar PVs and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) as alternative power supply in Army barracks and cantonments.

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