Nigerian Electricity: Despite Federal Government’s 8000MW Claim, Nigerians Still Live in Darkness
After about eight months of blackout resulted in losing all his customers, Abdurahman Ilyas, owner, and operator of a grinding shop is counting his losses. The community where he located his machines was cut off from the power grid after a protest by residents against paying for darkness as against power supply.
The residents revolted against officials of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) who went on mass disconnections for non-payment of electricity bills. But aggrieved residents chased them away, complaining that they have had to pay for more ‘darkness’ than power. The AEDC officials then decided to disconnect their power source. To many of them, they prefer to live in darkness than to pay for the service they did not consume.
Already, Ilyas has relocated his grinding machines from Garam, an agrarian town in Tafa Local Government Area of Local of Niger State to another village where there is a fair power supply. Many other artisans and other residents have since been relocating from the community as blackout persists and no end in sight.
“We have not been enjoying good power supply and they were giving us crazy bill,” Ilyas said. “Now, they have disconnected us and everywhere is in darkness, if they can’t give us 24hours light, we won’t allow them to reconnect us.”
Garam borders Bwari Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory, but it's residents have been living with irregular power supply before February 2018 when they were finally cut off the power grid.
“Even before they cut us off, we could not boast of having light for eight hours,” said Smart Osagie, owner of a dry cleaning and laundry outfit in the community. “I spend more on fuel to power my business and all the gains go into buying fuel. Imagine, the AEDC people are still giving us crazy bills when we didn’t enjoy electricity.”
Inhabitants of the community had complained about the poor power supply to the area by the AEDC and the ‘crazy bill’ that they were being served but there was no improvement until that fateful morning around mid-February when AEDC officials were sent away and in retaliation, they cut off the area from the power source.
Eight months on, the residents are demanding for 24-hour power supply but the AEDC is proposing to them eight hours. They are both unwilling to shift ground and the community has remained without power supply.
Despite claims by President Muhammadu Buhari that power generation has increased from 2000MW that he inherited to 8000 megawatts, many communities across the country have not witnessed improved power supply since May 29, 2015, that Buhari was sworn in as president.