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The day women protested over darkness in Abuja

However, a nocturnal visit to the camp could be more discerning as a first time visitor would be greeted with deafening sound and noise from…

However, a nocturnal visit to the camp could be more discerning as a first time visitor would be greeted with deafening sound and noise from all categories of electric power generating sets being used by the residents as alternative to power supply from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).   

Angry over what appears to be leading to an unending darkness, women in the camp took to the street and indeed carried their protest to the doorsteps of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Mohammed Adamu Aliero, who is also a resident of the area.

Numbering about 50, all from the neighbourhood where power supply has become a luxury since the only transformer that served the area got  burnt, the women, as early as 8am penultimate Monday, besieged the residence of the minister, demanding for his attention over the power outage.

Investigations by Sunday Trust, however, revealed that the angry women could not meet the FCT minister in person but were given an assurance by the minister’s lieutenants that the case would be resolved. In fact, they were assured that in two weeks time the problem of total black out that had become their lot would be a thing of the past.

However, three weeks after the women’s showdown with the minister, the situation in the camp has deteriorated from bad to worse as residents complained that they now have electricity for just one hour daily. A resident of the area who spoke to Sunday Trust on an anonymous condition lamented that the lack of constant electricity in the area had given rise to serious concerns among the residents.

According to her, the only transformer that supplies the Kadanya Avenue in the Life Camp became faulty and was taken away by men of PHCN with the promise of a replacement. She said that the site of the transformer did not have any extant of a transformer as it was yet to be replaced.

Lamenting the cost of doing business in the area without electricity, as well as the use of small type of generating set, the woman, in her early 50s, said that it cost N6000 every month to run the generating set as four litres of petrol cost N500.   

She argued that they enjoy power supply only between 3 am and 5am.  The physically livid woman, who operated a corner shop in the area, revealed that residents were so aggrieved that they were ready to mob or even lynch any PHCN official in sight in the area.

Stressing further that the whole area had been in darkness for the past one year with every resident taking solace in generating set, she added that she spent close to N500 to buy ice block every day to cool her stocks, which, she noted, she wouldn’t have done if there was constant power supply.

“We are only begging the Minister to help us on this electricity matter. Our children can longer help us during the day because they would have to do their assignments after school as there would be no light at night for them to read,” she said.

Other residents of the camp who gave their names as Saadah and Rukayat, lamented that they only enjoyed light from the PHCN for two hours out of the 24 hours that make a day. Saadah said that the two weeks grace asked for by the minister’s aides had lapsed and the situation remained the same.

They both corroborated the fact that the entire Life Camp had been without stable powers supply for the past one year. “The situation is worse now, after the two weeks and I think the women that protested to the minister felt disappointed by the attitude of the men in this area to the issue of light,” said Saadah

When Sunday Trust visited the PHCN at Utako District that feeds the area, a top magement official, said that the major problem with power supply in the country was is that of generation.

According to him, the activities of the Niger Delta militants had been having adverse effects on the nation’s power generation as a lot of gas pipelines had been destroyed by warring militants, adding that the federal government was only being economical with the truth about the impacts of the militants’ activities.

He revealed that Nigerians were getting the little power supply now due to the rotational style of distribution PHCN had adopted to ensure that everybody had a fair share of what is being generated at the moment.

He, however, lamented that “you cannot give what you don’t have. If customers are complaining about having regular light, it is a general problem we have been complaining about. The truth of the matter is that the federal government doesn’t want to admit that the activities of Niger Delta militants are affecting the economy.  They are blowing up the gas pipe lines and that is affecting power generation”.

When contacted for comment, Abdulahi Idris Zuru, special assistant on media and public affairs to the minister of federal capital territory told Sunday Trust that “the problem of erratic power supply is not limited to Abuja alone, not to talk of Life Camp but the minister has given directives that the issues be looked into. The PHCN office in Abuja has been informed and the minister would be briefed on their findings. Besides, the minister also directed that apart from the peculiar case of Life Camp, other areas in the FCT with a similar problem should be adequately addressed, but as you are probably aware the issue of erratic power supply is a national problem that is not limited to the FCT alone.”

In Life Camp there are constructions companies like Setraco, Dantata and Sawoe and Julius Berger having their quarters and most of them have their power plants.