Back to Africa Check

Vigorously pursue the expansion of electricity generation and distribution of up to 40,000 megawatts in four to eight years

This target was trimmed down from 40,000 to 11,000 megawatts (MW) when Buhari sought reelection in 2019. 

Seven years into Buhari’s term, Nigeria’s power generation has consistently remained under 6,000MW. This output has sometimes dropped as low as 1,000MW.

Power Africa, a US-backed initiative to improve the continent’s access to electricity, notes that “on most days [Nigeria] is only able to dispatch around 4,000MW”. 

The highest generation recorded was on 1 March 2021, with the Transmission Company of Nigeria reportedly giving this as 5,801.6MW. The company gave the national grid capacity then as 8,100MW.

The most recent data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission is from the second quarter of 2020. The regulator gave the average daily generation as 4,099MW in April, 4,168MW in May and 3,726MW in June. 

The data showed Nigeria could have generated as high as an average of 6,315MW in April, 6,421MW in May, and 6,341MW in June. The reasons for the shortfall included insufficient gas supply and challenges in transmission and distribution. (Note: For an analysis of Nigeria’s grid challenge, click here.)

In this period, only 24 of the country’s 28 power plants operated. Nine of these accounted for 71.3% of the total electricity generated.

Power plant projects in the pipeline

A number of projects are underway to improve the power situation in Africa’s largest economy. Work has started on the 3,050MW Mambilla hydroelectric power project. When fully operational it would be the country’s biggest plant

Another key project expected to start generating in December 2021 is behind schedule, with only one unit of the 700MW Zungeru hydroelectric power plant commissioned so far. Work on the project however started in 2013 under Buhari’s predecessor Goodluck Jonathan.

But at the current pace, and with these projects expected to add just over 5,000MW in installed capacity, Buhari’s government faces a race against time to meet the 40,000MW - or even the newer 11,000MW target. 

– Africa Check, updated May 2022


Don't be fooled - get your facts straight!

For reading our fact-checks!

Did you know that our work is free to read and share? Support our work to continue reading.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.