Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola says the state lost N56m worth of electricity cables in 2012 to thieves.
Fashola, who spoke at a lecture organised by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in Abuja, said it was appalling that many Nigerians destroy rather than protect public property.
He said, “Let me quickly deal with the meat of the matter, which is the impact of poor conservation and protection. In 2012 alone, about N56m worth of power cables for lighting were stolen in Lagos.
“Now, by our records, for every two streetlight poles that were vandalised, the money could have been used to erect one more new pole. But we spend it replacing what we have already installed and therefore we lose a lot more.”
He said the state was also concerned with the poor state with which its citizens use water supplied by the government.
He called on Nigerians to conserve and preserve public facilities and advised NERC to adopt conservation and preservation measures in its regulatory activities of the power sector.
Fashola said, “We spend a substantial sum of money each year to repair broken lights or stolen cables. These are our assets and all of this money can be used to do other things. Our water facilities face the same challenge and I cannot disconnect power from water, because without power you will not have water and in some cases without hydro you will not have power.
“Now you will find out that our water corporations’ statistics show that not all the 210 million gallons capacity generation of water reach the Lagosians for whom it is meant. And this is because of vandalism, theft of pipes and valves, illegal connections and damage to the facilities.
“We have taken measures to tackle vandalism and power theft by implementing a robust policy on light maintenance and all of that. But the problem of policing still remains there.”