By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
The meeting between the Niger State House of Assembly and representatives of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, (AEDC) on how to improve power supply in the state, ended up in deadlock.
On the part of the Assembly were Civil Society Organizations, the Organized Labour and Youth Groups in the state.
The meeting hosted by the Assembly’s Special Committee on Power, took place at the Assembly’s chamber. It was at the instance of AEDC and was meant to nib off the planned mass action against the company after the 21 days ultimatum issued to them by the state House of Assembly and it’s partners in the growing complaints against the company.
The House of Assembly had, during interactive session last week along with some civil society organizations and the organized labour, threatened to shut down the three hydro electric dams in the state unless AEDC ensures 24 hours power supply to the state.
At the resumed sitting on Wednesday, amongst the crowd that thronged the Assembly complex were persons from diverse youth groups, civil society organizations, religious bodies, Human Rights Activists and Journalists.
Lawmaker representing Bosso, Hon. Malik Madaki Bosso who led the discussion from the government side, had insisted on 20 hours electricity supply or nothing else.
He anchored his argument on the grounds that the unique privilege of the state in hosting the country’s three hydro electricity generating plants, confers on it and on its citizens the right and privilege to enjoy at least 20 hours of power supply.
He therefore argued that anything short of that, was to say the least insulting and injustice to citizens in the state. “This is a gross injustice, and therefore unacceptable to the state and the people” he declared.
He cautioned that if at the expiration of the ultimatum, nothing had changed, the people would take their destiny in their own hands, just as he admonished the power distribution company of toying with the patience of the state and it’s people for too long.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Niger State Youth Council of Nigeria, Comrade Bello Sharif hinted that several interfaces with the power distribution company were held to draw its attention to do the needful, but to no avail. He said the umbrella body of the youth in the country had since began to mobilize youths across the state for what he called “mother of all protests” against the company.
He hinted that the planned occupy would soon commence in earnest. He told the gathering that if what was being planned fails, then the state should be considered as doomed.
Comrade Sharif lamented that the company had never honoured any of its pledges nor even show remorse or apologized for all it’s poor and none existing services. “It has failed in all agreements entered in the past” he said.
He threatened that nothing would stop the youths from shutting down the hydro electric dams in the state adding that “enough is enough”.
He said since the company has failed to live up to its expected services, it has no business being in the state any more. “The company should pack out of the state and allow other distribution companies to come into the state” he said.
Heads of the conveners of the Right Groups, Comrade Mohammed Etsu and Comrade Abdullahi Jabi noted that while other electricity distribution companies were competing for the hours of electricity they supply to their customers, the AEDC was only giving excuses for their failures.
Earlier, the Chief Operating Officer of AEDC, Engr. Sa’idu Gorobe, while explaining the position of the company, said the only improvement in the number of hours the company could offer was a 12 hours of electricity supply per day.
Engr. Gorobe conceded that though the company had enough energy to share or distribute to the state, the problem according to him was consumers of electricity in the state were not paying for the electricity consumed.
He disclosed that for the state to enjoy 20 hours uninterrupted power supply, the electricity consumers must be able to pay N1. 6 Billion monthly to sustain the services they were asking for.
In defending the company, Gorobe said the company has been incurring loses especially in Minna where there were growing cases of energy theft, wastage and vandalism.
He revealed that when the company was supplying longer hours of power in the state, it was loosing N816 million monthly monthly.
He insisted that AEDC was in the state to make money not to incur loses. “We can not afford to continue with loosing such amount of money” he said. ==//==