Many businesses and households in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, that could not afford other alternative sources of energy, are still struggling, five months after insurgents had disrupted the grid.
Insurgents were said to have bombed the transmission towers at a place near Mainok town along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway. Power workers moved to the site in February to repair the damaged towers but another device concealed beneath the ground exploded and injured two workers. Work continued at the site though on a slow pace because of daily detection of explosives.
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However, two days after restoring power to the transmission towers, the insurgents allegedly bombed two other towers a few kilometres away from the previous blast scene, and Maiduguri was again plunged into darkness. An investigation was said to have started over the incidents.
Nevertheless, though the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had visited Governor Babagana Zulum in Maiduguri and pledged to provide gas-fired power plants for the state, small businesses continue to lose customers and revenue as a result of the outage.
Tela Ibrahim, who is into soft drinks retailing and distribution business along the Baga Road in Maiduguri, said the expenses associated with running the business since the power blackout have increased.
Ibrahim, who started losing customers and income after the power cut, said he was advised to buy a generator to power his shop.
He said: “I had to buy a diesel generator to keep my refrigerators cold. I fuel the generator daily to cool my products. Customers come to buy drinks due to the hot and dry weather,” he said.
A tailor, Lydia David, also in Baga Road, said she was put out of business following the power outage.
She said, “I used electric sewing machines but had to close shop because of the blackout. I do not have enough money to buy a generator or the solar panels system; all my customers have gone to other tailors.”