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It’s power to the people of the Kaga, Gubio and Magumeri districts after 10-year blackout

20 November 2023
Reading time: 4 minutes

Light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel as businesses are picking up, cold drinking water and soft drinks are on hand and people can recharge their mobile phones at home.

Residents in the Kaga, Gubio and Magumeri local government areas of Borno State have been celebrating the recent restoration of electricity after a blackout of 10 years caused by persistent attacks on power facilities by insurgents.

They say that, during the past 10 years, as soon as the government replaced power installations, insurgents from the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād (JAS), better known as Boko Haram, and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) would bomb them.
The Borno State government restored power supply to the three affected districts three weeks ago – a move that has been lauded by many, even though some have expressed concern and questioned its sustainability.

Mohammed Mustapha, from the Magumeri Local Government Area, told RNI that he was excited about the resumption of power supply in his community.
“I am extremely happy we now have power in the Magumeri district because we have been living with almost constant blackouts for 10 years. Then, three weeks ago, power was restored. The exciting part is that we have full current and it has been relatively stable.

“It’s amazing what we can do now that the power is back. Having electricity again is making all our lives much more bearable. Already business activities are gradually picking up and our quality of life has been improved. The price of drinking water, which used to be very expensive because the vendors used diesel to power their generators, has now gone down. It was extremely difficult – and costly – to get cold drinking water or soft drinks and ice blocks. But it not like that today.”

Mohammed Ali, a man from Benisheikh, the headquarters of the Kaga Local Government Area, said: “The power supply has been restored here in Benisheikh, but unfortunately there are still blackouts in many other parts of the Kaga district. Places such as Maitakuriri, Karagawaru, Mainok and some parts of the Ngamdu ward community still do not have power. I hope that the government will restore it in those areas soon.”

Muktar Ahmad, from Magumeri, told RNI that the community was extremely grateful to have its power restored. We have had power without interruption for about three weeks now. It is really helping us to live properly again. Because of the massive hike in the price of petrol after the fuel subsidy was removed, we could not afford to use our generators.

“It is making our work a lot easier. Before power was restored, we had to grind our corn using a mortar and pestle. It was hard work, extremely tiring and time consuming. It was the women who suffered most because that was their job. But now machines can do it and it’s so much better.”

He said accessing potable drinking water in the past was terrible.
“People spent sometimes half a day travelling very far in search of drinking water. Then they had to spend hours, under a blazing sun, in the queue before it was their turn.

“Women and girls used to travel several kilometres in search of drinking water from neighbouring communities because we could not afford to buy it from water vendors. The price was much too high and it was out of our reach. We simply could not afford it. Now, with the restoration of power, people no longer have to stand in long queues or spend much money. It has been a very stressful time for everyone.”

Mallam Mammadu, from Benisheikh, said: “When our power supply was cut, people used to spend a lot of money on recharging their mobile phones. We were paying about ₦100 naira per phone. Now we don’t pay to charge our mobile phones because we can charge them at home. And the good news is that for those who cannot charge their phones at home, the price of recharging phones at vendors has crashed. People now pay about ₦50 naira or even less to charge their mobile phones.

“The restored power is also good for our security. Before, the town use to be very dark at night. People were extremely afraid to move around. We were afraid and felt insecure. We thought we would be attacked by insurgents and common criminals. Now we walk around without any fear.”


Keywords: #POWER

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