…Says N’West at risk of ‘total darkness’
Boko Haram terrorists based in parts of Kaduna and Niger states have a “definite” plot to destroy critical electricity infrastructure supplying the North-West region, Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i wrote in his late July letter to President Muhammadu Buhari. The governor’s statement is believed to be the first known official confirmation of Boko Haram’s presence in Kaduna State.
He said that the “total darkness” threat fits the violent extremists’ agenda of further crumbling the socio-economic life of the region. Thousands have been killed, tens of thousands forcibly uprooted from their homes and cut off from farms, and communities destroyed by terrorists and armed bandits alike in the region.
In the letter to the president, El-Rufa’i said an enclave straddling villages in Chikun local government area (LGA) in Kaduna State, as well as Shiroro and Munya LGAs in Niger State controlled by Boko Haram terrorists, hosts Shiroro-Kaduna 330kV Double-Circuit Transmission Lines (R1M and R2M), which supplies bulk electricity to Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, and Zamfara. The seven States constitute the North-West.
“Credible intelligence reports indicate that the Boko Haram elements in the area have targeted the lines as part of a plot to plunge the North-West into total darkness,” he said. “It is noteworthy that on 19th May 2022, the R1M line shut down for unknown reasons. The presence of terrorists on the line route has made it inaccessible to technicians for investigation and possible repair. The power load for the North-West now rests solely on the R2M line, which has resulted in a drastic drop in supply due to the limited capacity of only one line. Any mishap or damage to the solely functioning R2M line will immediately enshroud the North-West in darkness, playing directly into the plan of the terrorists”, he further stated.
Niger State had since last year disclosed the presence of Boko Haram terrorists in the State. Another terrorist group, Ansaru, has been in the Birnin-Gwari area of Kaduna State since 2012, when it broke away from Boko Haram.
Recall that Governor el-Rufa’i had earlier lamented the consolidation of Ansaru’s grip on Kaduna communities with a “parallel” government and planned “permanent operational base”. In an indication that the extension of Boko Haram to the Chikun area of Kaduna was not very recent, the governor said “in the last years” the terrorists had consistently attacked electricity workers trying to work on the Shiroro-Kaduna Transmission Line.
That Boko Haram and ISWAP, originally North-East-based extremist groups, are active in the North-Central and North-West, debunks the Buhari administration’s repeated claims of progress against insecurity. Government insiders in the States ravaged by terrorist violence worry the president is not demonstrating the required political will to combat the problem that clearly threatens Nigeria’s democracy and makes people throughout the country live and work in fear.
El-Rufai’s letter, it was gathered, is to rouse Abuja to come to grips with the enormity of the insecurity in the North-West region and deliver certain operational responses. Other States in the region have written similar letters to federal authorities.