Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
“Enough is enough”, “Our businesses are suffering”, “Bring Back our light”, the placards read as angry youths in Birnin-Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital, staged a protest on Monday against state electricity provider Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) over long-running power cuts.
Their demonstration distrupted commercial activity along major roads in the capital city.
They took off from the old Birnin-Kebbi district, stopping over at the main entrance of the Government House to make their grievances known to government officials, before proceeding to the main offices of KEDCO.
Speaking with reporters, Muhammad Abdullahi, a protester and tailor from Nasarawa area, expressed disappointment over what he described as a deliberate attempt by KEDCO to ruin their businesses and subject them to severe hardship.
“Yes, we are protesting against Kaduna Electricity Company. Power outage has now become regular, even with what the Kebbi State Government is giving them to support supply,” he said.
“We don’t have light and we don’t have water, our bussineses are running down. We are tired of paying for light we did not consume,” he angrily protested.
Another protester, Ibrahim Abubakar, said the protesters were at Government House to register their complaint against KEDCO. He appealed to the governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, to intervene before customers completely lose their patience.
He described the performance of the electricity supplier as unsatisfactory and inexcusable, citing the millions of naira the Kebbi State Government had dedicated to support constant power supply in the northwestern state.
Earlier, reporters had contacted the Bussiness Development Relation Officer of the company, Mr Dogara Saidu, on the power situation in the state, but he declined to make comment on the matter, saying he did not have permission to speak on the matter from KEDCO head office.
Back in April, Governor Bagudu had approved the payment of 154 million naira to KEDCO in order to maintain uninterrupted power supply in Kebbi State.
But judging by Monday’s protests, it is clear that the power situation has not improved for a lot of Kebbi residents.