Thieves have reportedly carted away vital equipment from power turbines worth about N57bn ($72m) at N792/$1, which were meant for the construction of a 1,250 megawatts plant in Ajebandele village, Ondo State.

Addressing the 9th set of graduates of the Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, on Tuesday, the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, Dr Deji Adeleke, said the looters invaded the power plant site to steal components of the turbine, which cost about N56bn ($72m), adding that this might lead to a delay in delivering the project in record time.

Adeleke, one of the leading industrialists in Nigeria, commenced the project a few years ago to complement the existing 4,000MW being generated by the 26 plants in-country. The plant is estimated to cost a total of N1.6tn ($2bn).

“I am building a 1,250MW power plant. Nigeria has about 5,000MW, adding mine to it is a lot. The cost is $2bn. We started it in a village in Ondo state. We brought in turbines that cost about $72m.

“The construction of the project engaged over 1,000 people and at a minimum 200 to 300 people will come from that village, that is for direct employment not to talk of indirect employment. The few securities that we engaged are to protect our engineers so that they will not be kidnapped, so we need young men from that village to help us guide the power plant,” he said in his speech titled, ‘Change Begins with You.’

Adeleke added that last month, it was discovered that some of the turbines had been broken into, and some of the components built with copper had been looted.

“Those components were yanked off in each of those turbines. These are heavy items that will require at least 10 people to lift a single one. This means somebody would have brought in a truck at night to carry those things away.

“The project will be delayed for another year to get those things they looted back. This is going to cost us a minimum of $5m to replace. So can we blame our leaders for that? These are young people in their twenties that we employed. We have to sack them out of the plant and bring in security from top agencies in Nigeria to man and take over the whole plant. I am sure that those things they looted, they won’t sell it for N5m,” he said.

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