Parts of Borno and Yobe States in Nigeria’s northeastern region are again in darkness following a suspected ISWAP attack on a high-tension electricity tower connecting the region to the national grid. The attack, which took place at approximately 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 21, resulted in a massive power outage that left residents in uncertainty and fear.
Residents of Maiduguri initially dismissed the sudden loss of electricity as a common power outage. However, as the electricity remained off the following day, workers at the electricity distribution company grew increasingly concerned.
Meanwhile, far from the city in Katsaita village, residents experienced not an outage but a deafening explosion followed by a brilliant, lightning-like glow that lit up the dark night sky.
“It was the Boko Haram terrorists that used a suspected massive bomb to bring down one of the high tension towers,” said Nasiru, a village resident.
Regrettably, this is not the first time Borno State has been plunged into darkness due to such an attack. In mid-January 2021, a similar attack by Boko Haram on several high-tension towers resulted in a year-long blackout. The towers were restored in April 2021, only to be swiftly sabotaged again, curtailing the brief respite enjoyed by the residents.
Ndidi Mbah, General Manager of Public Affairs for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), confirmed the incident.
In a statement, a spokesman of the Power distribution company disclosed, “One of our towers, tower T372 around Katsaita Village in Yobe State, was vandalised, causing failure of power supply to parts of the North East, namely, Yobe and Borno States.“
The incident, which pulled down an adjoining tower, T373, came to light when TCN engineers patrolling the line discovered the fallen structures. Local villagers confirmed hearing a loud explosion before the tower collapsed. Upon further investigation, the engineers found evidence of explosives used in bringing down the towers.
TCN says it has already mobilised a contractor to the site to begin the reconstruction of the damaged towers. The company condemned the incident and expressed regret for the inconvenience caused to the residents of Yobe and Borno States.
TCN also urged locals to collaborate in the fight against what it called vandalism, stressing the importance of preserving power infrastructure as a collective asset. The company pledged to do all possible to swiftly restore power supply to the affected areas.
After the power towers were repeatedly attacked, NNPC Ltd announced in April 2021 that it would build a 50-megawatt gas turbine to provide an alternative source of electricity for the state. Although the project was officially commissioned by the former president of Nigeria in March 2023, the plant failed to supply electricity to the state after his tenure ended. Officials claimed that there were still unfinished tasks at the time the president inaugurated the plant.
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