Groups threaten to shutdown Nigeria’s three major hydro power generating dams

By Ummi Ismaeel,
Minna

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Youth groups, the Association of Commercial Motorcycle and Riders of Nigeria (ACCOMORON) and religious bodies in Niger State have threatened to shutdown Nigeria’s three major hydro power generating dams, Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba, if the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) fails to improve on electricity supply to the state in the next 21 days.

On the platform of Joint Stakeholders, the groups, in Minna, the Niger State capital, accused the AEDC of feeding fat on citizens with over-bloated estimated billing.

It also mandated the company to install pre-paid metres to all customers in the state.

After meeting with the stakeholders, the Chairman, House Committee on Labour and Productivity, Malik Madaki, said that the state could no longer condone insensitivities of the AEDC.

Madaki, representing Bosso Constituency of Niger State, said that the committee had met with the relevant stakeholders and listened to their views and position on the electricity supply situation across the state and the decision taken.

After the stakeholders’ meeting, Madaki said that it was agreed that AEDC must improve on electricity supply before the expiration of the three weeks and as well install pre-paid meters to all customers or be ready to face a mass protest by consumers.

Some part of Minna metropolis, including Dutsen Kura-Gwari, have been without electricity for months now without any explanation from the company.

Against this backdrop, Madaki said that AEDC would be communicated officially on the decisions taken by Nigerlites.

The lawmaker decried a situation whereby other states enjoy adequate or uninterrupted power supply, the host state, Niger, was denied.

Madaki said: “The stakeholders resolved that the AEDC must restore power for 24 hours and give us pre-paid meters or we will be forced to protest and shutdown the three dams so that Nigerians will feel what we are feeling here in Niger State”.

He further argued, “We are not even supposed to pay for electricity because Niger is custodian of Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro dams. We provide security for the AEDC to do business peacefully hence if you deny us power we have a way of getting back at them”.

Also, the state Chairman of TUC, Yunusa Tanimu, expressed regrets over total blackout in the state, adding that electricity consumers in the state had been very patient but would no longer accept AEDC not meeting up with their social responsibilities.

According to the TUC chairman, “All we are saying is they should give us light and meters else we will take drastic action against the power distribution company. We, the relevant stakeholders, have met and we have spoken on our decision”.

The leader of the Youths, Bello Sherif, in his contribution, expressed regrets that youths in the state have been pushed to the wall as their future is at stake with continued blackout which cripples business activities hence their preparedness to join in the mass protest.

Sheriff said, “The youths are mostly affected by the electricity challenges and that is why we are ready to mobilize the over 2.5 million youths across Niger State to Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro dams. We are tired because the situation is affecting our businesses”.

While debunking claims by the AEDC that Nigerlites do not pay for electricity consumed, Bello challenged the company to “As a business minded company evolve strategies to recover debts instead of throwing the entire citizenry in darkness.

“It is like they are not ready to do business. The company should come up with strategies to get its monies. Ask Mobile Network services, will the company say we are not paying? So, AEDC shouldn’t be giving excuses, they should come up with ways of recouping its money”.

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