Niger Govt Soft Pedals On Threat To Anti Epileptic Power Protesters

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Governor Sani Bello of Niger State
By; BALA B. Bitruus, Minna
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, (AEDC) which had for almost 48 hours shut down power supply to Minna, the Niger State capital and environs, had by Wednesday night restored electricity supply to parts of the city just as the state’s Deputy Governor, Ahmed Mohammed Ketso soft pedalled from his earlier tough stance on the convener of the mass protest against the AEDC.
A rather soft words of commendations from the state’s Deputy Governor greeted the conveners of the #Bring Back Our Light on Thursday saying the conveners of the protest were good citizens because “‘for their maturity and understanding” in protesting against the power distribution company.
However, this recant contrasted with the earlier posture of Ketso when he featured on a radio phone in programme (Prestige FM 91.7 station) where he condemned the youths for staging a mass action against the company.
 In a statement issued by Ketso’ Press Secretary, Maimuna Kolo late Thursday afternoon presented, Kolo quoted the Deputy Governor as assuring citizens in the state that concerted efforts were being made to ensure adequate power supply to the state as against the poor services rendered by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company in the time pass.
Whereas on the radio programme on Tuesday, Ketso who stood in the garb for his principal, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello who was out of town, had blown hot against the organisers of the mass protest against the AEDC and described the youths group as ”an illegal” contraption, lacking the blessings of the state government.
He had in that vein ordered the immediate deployment of security agencies to, ”protect the offices and electrical installations of the power distribution company in the state capital and flush out all protesters who were on streets demonstrating against the company.
But the Acting Governor in a sudden change of disposition, appeared to have detoured on Thursday and  praised the youth as being ”patriotic Nigerians in view of the way they conducted themselves and carried out the protest”.
He was quoted to have noted that the state deserves better, adequate and uninterrupted power supply than what it was receiving because Niger state houses all the three hydroelectric power generation stations in the country.
He disclosed that relevant stakeholders in power sector and the management of the AEDC as well as the special committee on stable and quality power supply in the state had met and were working out modalities to put an end to the frequent power outages and power rationing in the state.
The statement conveyed the apologies of the state government to citizens in the state for the hardships and inconveniences the  48 hours power shut down experienced in the state from Monday morning to Wednesday night had caused the citizens.
He however appealed to the conveners of the mass protest against the AEDC to always respect constituted authorities in the exercise of their activities in the future.
Meanwhile, officials of the Minna office of the AEDC who appeared before the state lawmakers Thursday afternoon, were humiliated, booed and chastised by crowd of people who attended the sitting of the House.
The Niger State House of Assembly had invited the Regional Manager of the AEDC, Mohammed Yahaya Jere  to appear before it at plenary to explain reasons for the total blackout in the state capital for three days.
In his seemingly weightless excuse, the Regional Manager said there was a system collapse in one of the three hydro dams in the state which resulted in system shutdown.
But as soon as he begun to explain, his explanations were booed and shouted down by angry youths who had mobilised to the Assembly. Shouts of ”liar”, ”liar”, ”liar” rented the air even as the Speaker of the House struggled to quieten the restive youths to no avail.
As the session got rowdy, the Regional Manager was asked to step down but the angry youths continued to scream at him calling him and the AEDC some unprintable names.
Obviously unsatisfying with the lame explanations from the Regional Manager, Speaker of the House told the Regional Manager that the House would invite the top management officials of the company in Abuja to appear before it to field question on their activities in the state.


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