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Opinion:Threats to Nigeria’s 2023 Elections



Threats to Nigeria’s 2023 Elections

BY Reuben Abati



From today, we have just about 47 days to Nigeria’s general elections, a major transition that would involve a change of government, the seventh since the return to civilian rule in 1999, but the biggest fear is that the current electoral process faces threats from different directions more than any other before it. I intend to identify some of these and reflect on them, as we all begin to count down to this year’s major elections. Yesterday in Ojota, Lagos, it was reported that there was a shoot out between members of the Oodua Progressives Congress (OPC), and the Oodua self-determination activists and Nigeria’s security agencies. Persons were killed, others were injured. By 9 am, concerned citizens had declared the Ojota area of Lagos a no-go area except you would willingly take a stray bullet in your head and die just like that.  In Anambra State, unidentified gunmen burnt down a police station in Umuchu community in Aguata Local Government Area.


The same station was destroyed by #EndSARS protesters in 2020 during a mass protest. The Umuchu Improvement Union decided to rebuild it, only for it to be set ablaze again.   In parts of the East and elsewhere, both police stations and the offices of the electoral umpire have been special targets of evil-minded arsonists and unknown gunmen, ahead of the elections. As of December 2022, we were told that over 50 INEC offices had been attacked in four years, across 15 states. Of these, 11 incidents in Imo state alone, seven in Osun, five in Akwa Ibom, five in Enugu and Ebonyi, four in Abia and Cross River, two in Anambra, Taraba, Borno, and one in Ogun, Lagos, Bayelsa, Ondo and Kaduna. The frequency of these attacks has since increased as the elections draw nearer, causing understandable panic and concern among right-thinking members of the Nigerian community. The truth is that INEC facilities and security stations have become targets of arson and vandalism.


The attacks point to a trend: the determination to destroy INEC infrastructure, incapacitate the institution, and derail the 2023 electoral process. The details are as follows:  yet uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) have been stolen, generating sets and computers are destroyed and the assailants across the country disappear into thin air. There is no record of arrests having been made. When INEC offices are not attacked, there are other attacks that point to what is beginning to look like a deliberate attempt by some hoodlums to make sure the 2023 elections do not take place. On March 28, 2022 for example, a Kaduna bound train from Abuja was attacked and bombed and passengers were injured and abducted. More than 100 of the abducted passengers did not all regain their freedom until September 2022. The families who lost their loved ones, or paid ransoms, and those whose relatives were injured, humiliated and flogged, would never forget their pain and loss. Their only crime, at the risk of sounding repetitive is that they are Nigerians living in a country of strange occurrences where life has become “nasty, short and brutish”.


On Saturday, just a few days ago, the railway station at Igueben in Edo State was attacked. This time, it was the station, not the train. Over 30 persons were abducted including the manager of the train station. This is all made more worrisome because before the re-opening of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line on December 15, 2022, the Minister of Transportation had boasted that special measures had been taken to ensure the safety of passengers and the entire Nigerian railway value chain. The Minister has since visited Igueben and he simply repeated the same tosh without even thinking about how additional security measures would eb taken.  What we see is that government officials do not learn from what happens to the people. They repeat the same embarrassing script in an odious advertisement of their lack of capacity. So much money and commitments have been invested by Nigeria in the country’s rail network, but the management is atrocious because it is in the hands of incompetents who on top of it all, have not learnt the lesson of keeping quiet when you have nothing intelligent or reasonable to say. In some other countries, where merit is more important than connections, the Minister of Transportation and the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) would be out of job by now.


But the bigger picture, the big elephant in the room, is that this is election season and it seems that some fifth columnists are determined to truncate the process, derail it, make it impossible, as it were for Nigerians to have credible elections. This may sound hypothetical, but from the evidence of current trends, it is possible to do a threat assessment and conclude accordingly. We face a very high level of security threat as we get closer to the 2023 elections, and it is one reason why the security agencies must arouse from their slumber and stop playing possum when the house is threatened by arsonists.  President Muhammadu Buhari had given, before now, the security agencies a deadline of December 2022 to make sure that they “got on top of the security situation” in the country. The various service chiefs pledged that they would do their job. The joke is now on them. Where are they? Are they hiding in some secret cupboards somewhere? There is widespread insecurity in the land. The people have played their part by seeking to register and collect their Permanent Voter’s Cards: 93. 5 million registered voters and over 48 million young people who want to use the 2023 opportunity to have a say in how they are governed. Who is afraid of the people’s voice and power? Buhari wants to leave a strong legacy. The starting point, and the obvious redemptive choice is to leave behind a free and fair election that produces the best options for Nigeria. This week, the President would begin to show up as we have been told at rallies of his party in 10 states (why 10?),,for  the APC’s Presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The last time President Buhari was sighted at any APC rally was during the flag off of the campaign in Jos, Plateau State. But now, he wants to come out to throw his weight and influence behind his party’s Presidential candidate. In doing so, at this crunch time, he must be reminded that he had told us again and again that he is for everybody and for nobody and all he wants is for Nigerians to vote according to their conscience. He has an obligation to toe that chosen  path even as he relishes photo opportunities at campaign rallies by his own party, otherwise he would be accused of hypocrisy. His party members expect him to deliver single-handedly, over 12 million votes from the North. But the times have changed. Out of the total of 93. 5 registered voters, over 48 million of them are young men and women, and they are majorly in the South, espousing a combination of #EndSARS, #IPOB and #TakeOurCountry Back ideals. There is a new generation in the electoral space that does not know the older generation. This is bound to be an election like no other. It would be a contest between the old and new order, the rich and the poor, the establishment and the people. Whoever wins, Nigeria stands the strong chance of new realignments and awakening.  The best bet for President Buhari as he goes into final retirement from public service and partisan politics is to protect his legacy for Nigerians, and take ownership of his own narrative. He is not getting the help that he badly needs!



The 2023 election process is further threatened by the inability of the people, especially young men and women who dominate the electoral register to get their PVCs. In Lagos state or elsewhere, the story has been that either the INEC officials do not show up, or they arrive late and close early, provoking the anger of majorly young voters who believe that there is an attempt to disenfranchise them. INEC spokespersons continue to argue that they are prepared and ready, but what explains the inefficiency in INEC collection centres from Local Government Areas to the wards, and the fact that INEC ad-hoc staff are mostly unavailable at their duty desks. There has been a clamour for the extension of the INEC time-table for the collection of PVCs beyond January 22, 2023. INEC must also audit its own processes beyond merely making promises it cannot keep. The people have been told that the only way they can vote and for their votes to count is for them to have a voter’s card. One man, one vote. INEC must in addition to everything else explain why its Voter’s Cards are showing up in refuse dumps and drainage channels. How did they get there?  The PVCs must be in the hands of Nigerian voters who expect to use them to exercise their due rights under the law.  This is not something that INEC must sweep under the carpet. The   organization has announced that beginning from today, it would embark on the enlightenment of the electorate across the country. It is not just the voters that need enlightenment, the process must begin with INEC officials and ad hoc staff.


The politicians also must be called to order. The beauty of the Electoral Act 2022 is that it spells out in no uncertain terms, the penalty for misconduct. Sections 91, 92 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, guide conduct during elections accordingly, with penalties properly spelt out in Sections 92 (7), (8), 93(2), 94(2), 95 (6), 96(3) and 97 (1) but nonetheless, the level of impunity has been horrendous. Candidates go to campaign rallies and the major thing they do is to abuse their own opponents with a barrage of hate speech, toxic language and argumentum ad hominem. In some states where certain parties are in charge politically, they do not allow the opposition to campaign or erect campaign materials. There has been in fact a rank disregard for Section 97 of the Electoral Act which forbids any form of campaign on “religious, tribal or sectional reason for the purpose of promoting or opposing a particular political party or the election of a particular candidate…”  Meanwhile, it has been reported that a special prayer session was organized by Muslim clerics in Kano recently in support of the APC Presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. At the event, one Abdulmutalab Mohammed Auwal, a Sheik, advised Muslims to vote only for a Muslim-Muslim ticket as a call to Jihad. He argued the Bola Tinubu/Shettima Muslim/Muslim ticket is an indication of the supremacy of Islam. The meeting was attended by about 75 Muslim groups from the North and other parts of Nigeria. Other speakers at the event promoted the politics of religion. The last time we checked, the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria at Section 10 thereof says: “The Government of the Federation or of a state shall not adopt any religion as State Religion”. It is the same provision that is reflected in Section 97 of the Electoral Act 2022 on the prohibition of “campaign based on religion or tribe”. But here in Nigeria both the people and the government break the laws routinely because impunity reigns. How on earth can a total of 75 groups gather at a forum and preach hatred based on religion and they are allowed to get away with it?


So in essence, the security agencies are not doing their work! They have an obligation to protect the state against all levels of threat, and they must do so, proactively, and consistently, not when it is convenient for them to do so. A general election such as this country is about to hold in the next two months is not just about the ballot paper, and the people’s ability to choose, it is also a national security operation. It is the integrity of the Nigerian state that is at stake. The electoral framework is clear on that. The people’s right to vote and choose, freely and without inducement or any form of harassment or molestation, must be protected and defended. Election managers often talk about a certain concentric circle of security operations on election day, but clearly, the security dimension of any major national security event is not a day-event, it is a process: before, during and after. Not enough has been done before the elections as indicated by the multiple security breaches around the country. The challenges ahead are clear and obvious. The politicians are behaving as if the election this year is a kind of war. The last thing this country wants is any form of war.  Nigerians want peace. The 2023 Budget as defined has a deficit of N77 trillion. Unemployment rate is over 33%. There is a debt overhang of over N22 trillion. Revenue projection is about N10 trillion. There is the possibility that fuel subsidy and other subsidies will be removed but there is no guarantee that the gains accruing therefrom will be properly managed. Tighten your seat belts. This is bound to be a tough year for us, as Nigerians. The politicians will win or lose, but they don’t seem to care enough about us. This is our sad reality.

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Kwibuka 30: Rwanda Commemorates 30th Anniversary of 1994 Genocide Against The Tutsi




By Dolapo Aina

The 30th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide Against The Tutsi commenced in Rwanda on April 7, 2024. Sunday, April 7th 2024 was a solemn and quiet day in Rwanda. The day was coupled with intermittent rain showers. This year, Rwanda planned a series of memorial events with the theme ‘Remember-Unite-Renew’. As the commemoration week begins on 7 April 2024, similar ceremonies will take place throughout the globe. The commemoration activities included a flame of remembrance which was lit by the President of Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gizosi (one of four memorial sites which the Government of Rwanda had been presented with certificates; confirming that the monuments of the Genocide against The Tutsi have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.) The others are the Genocide Memorials in Nyamata, Bisesero and Murambi. The flame will burn for the next 100 days as Rwanda commemorates the 1994 Genocide Against The Tutsi.

The commencement of this year’s 30th commemoration was quite different from previous commencements which this writer had witnessed since 2014. The significance of the 30th year of the Genocide Against The Tutsi was not lost on anyone who attended the official events, who partook in one form or the other and those who watched from home or online.

More than twenty current and past Heads of State from across the globe, African Union and European Union leaders, Ambassadors and many more prominent leaders were in Rwanda for the commemoration and in attendance.

A survivor Mrs Marie Louise Ayinkamiye, who gave a testimony of her ordeal as an eleven year old child. Her ordeal was harrowing to have been experienced and harrowing to listen to. The practising Christian, a mother of five was 11 years old in 1994 and as a child who is also 11 years old. When she concluded her story, the auditorium at the arena was silent and you could see teary eyes.

Something about this commemoration was different. At the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against The Tutsi, Genocide survivors recalled the atrocities they experienced with their family members and loved ones. And when you interact with people, they remember everything that occurred during the 100 days like they happened just yesterday.

Some dignitaries were on the podium to speak. President Paul Kagame in his speech stated that Rwanda learnt three key lessons from its experience: “First, only we as Rwandans and Africans can give full value to our lives. After all, we cannot ask others to value African lives more highly than we ourselves do. That is the root of our duty to preserve memory and tell our history as we lived it. Second, never wait for rescue, or ask for permission to do what is right to protect people. That is why some people must be joking when they threaten us with all kinds of things, they don’t know what they are talking about. In any case, that is why Rwanda participates proudly in peacekeeping operations today, and also extends assistance to African brothers and sisters bilaterally when asked. Third, stand firm against the politics of ethnic populism in any form. Genocide is populism in its purified form.”

As stated by Kwibuka’s site: “This year’s historic anniversary is an opportunity for Rwandans and the rest of the world to honour victims, comfort survivors, and reflect on Rwanda’s journey of recovery, reconciliation, and resilience, with national unity at the core of the country’s stability and progress.”

The full excerpts of the speech by President Paul Kagame

Today, our hearts are filled with grief and gratitude in equal measure. We remember our dead, and are also grateful for what Rwanda has become. To the survivors among us, we are in your debt. We asked you to do the impossible by carrying the burden of reconciliation on your shoulders. And you continue to do the impossible for our nation, every single day, and we thank you. As the years pass, the descendants of survivors increasingly struggle with the quiet loneliness of longing for relatives they never met, or never even got the chance to be born. Today, we are thinking of you as well. Our tears flow inward, but we carry on, as a family. Countless Rwandans also resisted the call to genocide. Some paid the ultimate price for that courage, and we honour their memory.

Our journey has been long and tough. Rwanda was completely humbled by the magnitude of our loss, and the lessons we learned are engraved in blood. But the tremendous progress of our country is plain to see, and it is the result of the choices we made together to resurrect our nation.
The foundation of everything is unity. That was the first choice: to believe in the idea of a reunited Rwanda, and live accordingly. The second choice was to reverse the arrow of accountability, which used to point outwards, beyond our borders. Now, we are accountable to each other, above all. Most importantly, we chose to think beyond the horizon of tragedy, and become a people with a future.

Today, we also feel a particular gratitude to all the friends and representatives here with us from around the world. We are deeply honoured by your presence alongside us on this very heavy day. The contributions you have made to Rwanda’s rebirth are enormous, and have helped us to stand where we are now. I want to recognize a few, while also asking for forgiveness for not being able to mention all who deserve it.
For example, Uganda, which carried the burden of Rwanda’s internal problems for so many years, and was even blamed for that. The leadership and the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea helped us in starting to rebuild at that time. In fact, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is here, even served as a young peacekeeper in the immediate aftermath of the Genocide Against The Tutsi. Kenya, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo hosted large numbers of Rwandan refugees, and gave them a home. Tanzania did as well, and also played a unique role at many critical points, including hosting and facilitating the Arusha peace process. And here I must single out the late President Julius Nyerere who embodied the spirit which laid that foundation. The Republic of Congo has been a productive partner in rebuilding, and more. Many of the countries represented here today also sent their sons and daughters to serve as peacekeepers in Rwanda. Those soldiers did not fail Rwanda; it was the international community which failed all of us, whether from contempt or cowardice.

Among those here with us today, I salute the widow and daughter of the late Captain Mbaye Diagne of Senegal, who died a hero as he rescued many Rwandans from death. At the United Nations Security Council in 1994, moral clarity came from Nigeria, the Czech Republic, and even as far away as New Zealand. Their ambassadors had the courage to call the Genocide by its rightful name, and resist political pressure from more powerful countries to hide the truth. Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria and Czech Ambassador Karel Kovanda are here with us today, and we applaud you. Even in countries where government policy was on the wrong side of history, both during the Genocide and even afterwards, there were always individuals who stood out for their honesty and humanity. We shall always be grateful.

We also appreciate the tangible support we have received from partners beyond our Continent over the past thirty years, in Europe, the United States, Asia, and many international organizations and philanthropies. A notable example of solidarity came to us from South Africa, one among many. Indeed, the entire arc of our Continent’s hopes and agonies could be seen in those few months of 1994. As South Africa ended apartheid and elected Nelson Mandela president, in Rwanda the last genocide of the 20th century was being carried out. The new South Africa paid for Cuban doctors to help rebuild our shattered health system, and opened up its universities to Rwandan students, paying only local fees. Among the hundreds of students who benefitted from South Africa’s generosity, some were orphaned survivors; others were the children of perpetrators; and many were neither. Most have gone on to become leaders in our country in different fields. Today, they live a completely new life.

What lessons have really been learned about the nature of Genocide, and the value of life? I want to share a personal story which I usually keep to myself.

My cousin, in fact a sister, Florence, worked for the United Nations Development Programme in Rwanda for more than fifteen years. After the Genocide started, she was trapped in her house near the Camp Kigali army barracks, with her niece, and other children and neighbours, around a dozen people in total. The telephone in Florence’s house still worked, and I called her several times using my satellite phone. Each time we spoke, she was more desperate. But our forces could not reach the area. When the commander of the U.N. peacekeeping mission, General Dallaire, visited me where I was in Mulindi, I asked him to rescue Florence. He said he would try. The last time I talked to her, I asked her if anyone had come. She said no, and started crying. Then she said, “Paul, you should stop trying to save us. We don’t want to live anymore anyway.” And she hung up.

At that time, I had a very strong heart. But it weakened a bit, because I understood what she was trying to tell me. On the morning of May 16th, following a month of torture, they were all killed, except for one niece, who managed to escape, thanks to a good neighbour. It later emerged that a Rwandan working at the UNDP betrayed his Tutsi colleagues to the killers. Witnesses remember him celebrating Florence’s murder the night after the attack. He continued his career with the United Nations for many years, even after evidence implicating him emerged. He is still a free man, now living in France. I asked General Dallaire what had happened. He said that his soldiers encountered a militia roadblock near the house, and so they turned back, just like that.

Meanwhile, he conveyed to me an order from the United States ambassador to protect diplomats and foreign civilians evacuating by road to Burundi from attack by the militias. These two things happened at the same time. I did not need to be instructed to do something that goes without saying. That’s what I was going to do. I do not blame General Dallaire. He is a good man who did the best that could be done in the worst conditions imaginable, and who has consistently borne witness to the truth, despite the personal cost. Nevertheless, in the contrast between the two cases, I took note of the value that is attached to different shades of life.

In 1994, all Tutsi were supposed to be completely exterminated, once and for all, because the killings that had forced me, and hundreds of thousands of others, into exile three decades before, had not been sufficiently thorough. That is why even babies were systematically murdered, so they would not grow up to become fighters. Rwandans will never understand why any country would remain intentionally vague about who was targeted in the Genocide. I don’t understand that. Such ambiguity is, in fact, a form of denial, which is a crime in and of itself, and Rwanda will always challenge it.

When the genocidal forces fled to Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo, in July 1994, with the support of their external backers, they vowed to reorganize and return to complete the Genocide. They conducted hundreds of cross-border terrorist attacks inside Rwanda over the next five years, targeting not only survivors, but also other Rwandans who had refused to go into exile, claiming thousands more lives. The remnants of those forces are still in eastern Congo today, where they enjoy state support, in full view of the United Nations peacekeepers. Their objectives have not changed, and the only reason this group, today known as FDLR, has not been disbanded, is because their continued existence serves some unspoken interest. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Congolese Tutsi refugees live here in our country in Rwanda, and beyond, completely forgotten, with no programme of action for their safe return.

Have we really learned any lessons? We see too many actors, even some from Africa, getting directly involved as tribal politics is given renewed prominence, and ethnic cleansing is prepared and practiced. What has happened to us? Is this the Africa we want to live in? Is this the kind of world we want? Rwanda’s tragedy is a warning. The process of division and extremism which leads to Genocide can happen anywhere, if left unchecked.

Throughout history, survivors of mass atrocities are always expected to be quiet, to censor themselves, or else be erased and even blamed for their own misfortune. Their testimony is living evidence of complicity, and it unsettles the fictions which comfort the enablers and the bystanders. The more Rwanda takes full responsibility for its own safety and dignity, the more intensely the established truth about the Genocide is questioned and revised. Over time, in the media controlled by the powerful in this world, victims are rebranded as villains, and even this very moment of commemoration is derided as a mere political tactic.

It is not. It never has been. Our reaction to such hypocrisy is pure disgust. We commemorate because those lives mattered to us. Rwandans cannot afford to be indifferent to the root causes of Genocide. We will always pay maximum attention, even if we are alone. But what we are seeking is solidarity and partnership to recognize and confront these threats together, as a global community.

I will tell you another story. One night, in the latter days of the Genocide, I received a surprise visit past midnight from General Dallaire. He brought a written message, of which I still have a copy, from the French general commanding the force that France had just deployed in the western part of our country, Operation Turquoise. The message said that we would pay a heavy price if our forces dared to try to capture the town of Butare, in the southern part of our country. General Dallaire gave me some additional advice, in fact he warned me that the French had attack helicopters, and every kind of heavy weapon you can imagine, and therefore were prepared to use them against us if we did not comply. I asked Dallaire whether French soldiers bleed the same way ours do; whether we have blood in our bodies. Then I thanked him, and told him he should just go and get some rest and sleep, after informing the French that our response would follow.

And it did. I immediately radioed the commander of the forces we had in that area, he is called Fred Ibingira, and told him to get ready to move. And move to fight. We took Butare at dawn. Within weeks, the entire country had been secured, and we began rebuilding. We did not have the kind of arms that were being used to threaten us, but I reminded some people that this is our land, this is our country. Those who bleed will bleed on it. We had lost all fear. Each challenge or indignity just made us stronger. After the Genocide, we faced the puzzle of how to prevent it from recurring. There were three broad lessons we learned as result of our experiences.

First, only we as Rwandans and Africans can give full value to our lives. After all, we cannot ask others to value African lives more highly than we ourselves do. That is the root of our duty to preserve memory and tell our history as we lived it.
Second, never wait for rescue, or ask for permission to do what is right to protect people. That is why some people must be joking when they threaten us with all kinds of things, they don’t know what they are talking about. In any case, that is why Rwanda participates proudly in peacekeeping operations today, and also extends assistance to African brothers and sisters bilaterally when asked.

Third, stand firm against the politics of ethnic populism in any form. Genocide is populism in its purified form. Because the causes are political, the remedies must be as well. For that reason, our politics is not organized on the basis of ethnicity or religion, and it never will be again.
The life of my generation has been a recurring cycle of Genocidal violence in thirty-year intervals, from the early 1960s, to 1994, to the signs we see in our region today in 2024. Only a new generation of young people has the ability to renew and redeem a nation after a Genocide. Our job was to provide the space and the tools for them to break the cycle.

And they have. What gives us hope and confidence are the children we saw in the performance earlier, or the youth who created the tradition of Walk to Remember that will occur later today. Nearly three-quarters of Rwandans today are under age 35. They either have no memory of the Genocide, or were not yet born. Our youth are the guardians of our future and the foundation of our unity, with a mindset that is totally different from the generation before. Today, it is all Rwandans who have conquered fear. Nothing can be worse than what we have already experienced. This is a nation of 14 million people, who are ready to confront any attempt to take us backwards.

The Rwandan story shows how much power human beings have within them. Whatever power you do have, you might as well use it to tell the truth and do what is right. During the Genocide, people were sometimes given the option of paying for a less painful death. There is another story I learned about at the time, which always sticks in my mind, about a woman at a roadblock, in her final moments. She left us a lesson that every African should live by. When asked by the killers how she wanted to die, she looked them in the eye, and spat in their face.

Today, because of the accident of survival, our only choice is what life we want to live. Our people will never and I mean, never be left for dead again. I thank you.

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Adelabu Makes U-turn, Apologises to Nigerians over Deep Freezer Comment




The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has apologised over his comment criticising Nigerians who usually keep their freezers and air conditioners on when they are not at home.

Speaking in an interview with Channels Television on Thursday, Adelabu said the comment was not intended to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

Last Thursday, the minister of power said Nigerians lacked the culture of power consumption management due to the affordability of electricity supply.

“A lot of people will come back from work, they want to have dinner, or they want to see their colleagues down the road, they switch on the AC for the room to be cooling before they come back,” Adelabu had said.

“Some people will be going to work in the morning, a freezer that you left on for days, they will still leave it on when all the items in the freezer are frozen and five, six, eight hours of their absence will not make it to defreeze, they will still leave it to be consuming power just because we are not paying enough.”

The comment did not go down well with many Nigerians who criticised the minister for his handling of the ministry of power.

Speaking on the comment, Adelabu said the statement was borne out of his passion for a change in the power sector.

He added that the remark was directed at customers in the Band A category, who are expected to enjoy 20 hours of electricity supply in a day.

“It was never intended to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians in any way. I never said people should switch off their freezers,” Adelabu said.

“It was actually innocent advice with regard to energy consumption management, which we believe will go a long way in reducing people’s energy bills.

“The example of the freezer, it might not have gone down well with the majority of Nigerians. I will say sorry about that. It was never my intention to insult anybody.

“It was out of my passion and eagerness to ensure that we make a change in the sector, which has suffered a lot of setbacks for some years.

“We said we need to cultivate the culture of energy consumption management. It was just a comical illustration.”

Recently, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an increase in electricity tariff for customers under the Band A classification.

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Tinubu’s Govt Borrows $750m from World Bank to Boost Power Supply




The Federal government has secured a $750 million loan from the World Bank to provide subsidy to developers and operators of solar mini-grids in the country.

The Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, signed the loan agreement on March 31 and February 19 respectively.

The loan, according to a document made available to journalists on Thursday, is aimed at augmenting the supply of electricity to both households and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through a surge in private sector-led distributed renewable energy initiatives.

It read: “The loan will be partly used to provide support to the development and operation of privately owned and operated solar hybrid mini grids in unserved and underserved areas through:

1.1. Minimum Subsidy Tender Carrying out of Minimum Subsidy Tender processes and provision of Minimum Capital Cost Subsidies to selected developers/operators of (a) Isolated mini- grids; (b) Interconnected mini-grids; or (c) Solar rooftop solutions in Participating States.”

Aside from providing the subsidy, the Federal government plans to also provide performance-based grants.

“There will be a provision of Performance-Based Grants to eligible mini-grid operators based on new customer connections for isolated mini-grids and percentage of capital expenditures for interconnected mini-grid projects.

“The grant will also cover Standalone Solar (SAS) Systems for Households, MSMEs, and Agribusinesses. This grant will provide “Support to the expansion of SAS systems for households, MSMEs, and agribusinesses in rural areas through:

2.1. Performance Based Grants for Standalone Solar Provision of Performance Based Grants (“PBGs”) to eligible companies to rapidly deploy SAS solutions in rural and underserved areas, through supply and demand side support and based on independently verified outputs, and to support deployment of solar productive use of electricity (PUE) equipment to MSMEs, agribusinesses and commercial customers.”

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