Residents protest five years power outage in Nasarawa

SOME residents of the Wazobia, in Mararaba, Karu area council of Nasarawa State, have staged a protest over five years power outage in the community.

The protesters, who took to the streets of Maraba down to the head office of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), decried the persistent outage, adding that the community has been paying for electricity without getting served. 

While speaking to NAN, the community chairman, Ifeanyi Alamaujo, who led other residents in the protest said: “We marched to the AEDC Mararaba area office because we are paying for electricity, but we don’t get service. Sometimes, we get supply for only 10 minutes”.

He added that the protesting residents had stormed the electricity firm’s office “to discuss with the management to know why we don’t get power supply”.

“It has been five years. It is too much,” the community chairman stated.

Also, a  community elder, John Otitoaja, appealed to AEDC to move the community from 11KVA to 33KVA to enhance power supply to the community.

While addressing the protesters, the area manager of Mararaba AEDC office Aluko Temiday, vowed to improve the power supply to the community.

“Like I promised, we will do the needful to make everyone happy. We cannot be 100 per cent perfect because of our system. We will do something that, at the end of the day, you will see changes.”

Temidayo noted that the situation is a general problem and not limited to the Wazobia community.

“We are in now is a general problem,” noting that the blackout is not limited to “your community alone, but we will do our best to make our customers happy.

“If our customers are not happy, we too are not happy too because you pay our salaries. Please bear with us.”

President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the 330,132,33 kilovolts (kV) Akurba power transmission substation in Lafia, Nasarawa State, in February 2022, to boost the power distribution and supply in the state.

The minister of power Abubakar Aliyu, after the commission disclosed that the substation, built by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), would boost small businesses.

Aliyu said, “It is a very good event, we welcomed the president and he was so happy to see that the substation is commissioned. This is a 330kV substation which the people of the state are already enjoying. It started since 2016, and thank God it is already completed now.

“Before now, they received their electricity from Jos; which wasn’t sufficient. With this substation, Nasarawa has become a centre point for electricity transmission around its environs.”

However, despite the development, many communities have decried the erratic power supply in the state. 

On April 17, 2023, about 1000 residents of Lafia protested the outrageous estimated bills on consumers by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company in the state.

One of the protesters, Rayyanu Bala, while addressing journalists, said despite the huge resources spent by the federal and Nasarawa State governments to construct the recently inaugurated Akurba 330KVA substation located in Lafia Local Government Area, the residents were still experiencing blackouts in their homes.






     

     

    He said, “Since President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Akurba 330KVA substation in February 2022, we have been suffering from total blackout in Lafia and other surrounding areas.

    “AEDC in June last year migrated us to tariff BAND A from tariff BAND D, which made monthly bills jump by almost 100 per cent without a commensurate supply of electricity in the state.

    “Any consumer on tariff BAND A is supposed to enjoy electricity for 20 hours and above in a day, but that is not happening in Nasarawa State.

    “The exploitation by AEDC is jeopardy for us because we record more days without electricity than the days we use to have electricity.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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