Nigerian Power Management Fired
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) _ President Olusegun Obasanjo fired the entire senior management of Nigeria’s beleaguered electricity monopoly on Tuesday as the country endured the sixth day of widespread power outages.
The outage has left millions of people without lights or water and forced some businesses to shut. Doctors at one Lagos hospital performed surgery in parking lots lit by generators because of the problem.
The government-owned National Electric Power Authority is known for its disintegrating power plants, broken lines and haphazard service. Some Lagos neighborhoods regularly endure weeks of blackout.
But the recent outage is believed to be the worst since Nigeria’s civil war ended 30 years ago.
It began Thursday when the power authority shut down its nationwide network after its thermal power generating systems in Lagos broke down. An explosion at a hydroelectric plant in northern Niger State compounded the company’s problems.
Power was restored to some parts of the country on Sunday, but not at sufficient levels to power many domestic appliances.
``There can be only one verdict and this is that NEPA has failed woefully,″ Obasanjo said, announcing the firings. He did not say how many people would lose their jobs.
A power authority spokesman said Monday the company had received inadequate funding over the years to maintain its plants, warning that power failures were likely to persist until a major overhaul was done.
The government asked legislators to approve some $120 million for new thermal stations, radio stations reported Tuesday.
Nigeria was ruled by a series of deeply corrupt military governments for 15 years, leaving much of the country’s infrastructure desperately crumbling. The junta rule ended with Obasanjo’s election in February 1999.