John Adams, Minna
In a bid to reduce the hardship of the people as a result of the COVID-19 stay-at-home directive, the Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has appealed to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to increase the hours of electricity supply in the state from the current three hours to at least 18 hours daily.
The governor, who made the appeal in Minna while giving an update on further measures put in place by his government to check the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state, pointed out that the current three hours of electricity a day will further compound the hardship of the people who are made to stay at home as a result of the lockdown.
Following the directive by the Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) to Nigerians with electricity meters to pay no more than N2,000 as electric bill per single charge, the AEDC had reduced electricity hours from twelve to three hours in the state since January.
The governor, however, says now that residents are compelled to stay at home to prevent the spread of the pandemic COVID 19, they need regular electricity supply of at least 18 hours per day to be able to cope with the excessive heat.
“I am concerned about the hardship people are facing, especially children in view of the present heat. People are staying at home and they need some level of comfort and this cannot be possible without electricity,” the governor stated.
The governor said that while he acknowledged the fact that AEDC is a private organisation that is in business, he has nonetheless directed the deputy governor to liaise with the company’s management to see the possibility of increasing electricity hours.
According to him, “I know that AEDC complained of people not paying their electric bills, we will discuss with them to see if the government can augment to enable us have light for at least 18 hours within this period of lockdown.”
Governor Bello disclosed that the government may relax the current restrictions order to allow essential trade like medicine and food items, but that the lockdown will continue for the next two weeks, adding that “the restrictions must be enforced by security agents.”
He regretted that some Nigerians are exploiting the current situation to make money inordinately, stressing that “it is quite unfortunate because this is the time to show concern and come together to fight the monster called coronavirus.”
He announced that the state government is working out reliefs for the people and that it will be done through the 274 political wards of the state, adding that religious leaders form part of the relief committee.