Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola has said that the perennial power problem in Nigeria was self inflicted, through vandalism of electricity facilities and a culture of waste.
He said Nigerians attitude of viewing public utilities as government owned instead of collective ownership and poor discipline in the use of available capacity posed a major threat to the power sector reforms.
Fashola said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the Distinguished Visitor Lecture of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
He said: "We are all aware of the progress that is being reported in the pursuit of these lofty goals. However, my purpose today is to bring our attention to the avoidable threats to our dream of a reliable power supply system - that threat is conservation and preservation; and our conduct today does not suggest to me that we realise how big the danger is.
"I believe that in our drive towards service improvement in the provision of utilities, we have missed that critical aspect - the need for a value system built on conserving and preserving our utilities, which is in my view, a key component of our well-being and sustainable future. We all have a role to play in the efficient use of energy resources and the preservation of our energy infrastructure to save costs."
He urged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to embark on a nationwide sensitization exercise on conservation of power and protection of public utilities.
He said it is time for NERC to come up with its own comprehensive nationwide campaign to help each and every Nigerian make the connection between protecting assets and securing Nigeria's future.
Fashola, who brought the story of theft of public property and wastage to bear at the forum, recalled that the Lagos State Electricity Board reports that in 2012 alone, about N56 million worth of power cables for lighting was stolen in the state.