John Adams, Minna
The Department of State Service (DSS) has invited members of the Niger State House of Assembly over its planned mass protests in response to poor electricity supply to the people of the State by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
Two assemblymen who are leading the campaign against the power company were on Monday invited to the DSS headquarters in Minna, the State capital.
The assemblymen, Hon Malik Madaki Bosso, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Labour, Services and Productivity and Engr Mohammed Haruna (Bida II), a member of the Committee and Chairman, House Committee on Youths, were asked to appear at the Minna DSS office.
Niger has, for the past one year, had only six hours of electricity per day, three hours in the morning between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm and between 9:00 pm and 12:00 midnight.
The AEDC has said it is due to the non-payment of electricity bills by consumers in the State, vowing that no amount of pressure would make it increase the hours of electricity supply in the State.
Frustrated by the attitude of the AEDC, some youths in the State, three weeks ago, took to the major highway in Minna metropolis in protest, disrupting commercial activities and vehicular movement for several hours.
Worried by the public outrage over the power situation in the State, the House, through a motion of urgent public matters, summoned the management of the AEDC to a meeting, giving a three-week ultimatum to increase the hours of electricity supply to the State.
Failure to comply, the House threatened, will lead to the shutting down of the AEDC offices and electricity dams in the State.
With less than one week to the expiration of the ultimatum, the DSS on Monday invited the two assemblymen leading the protest against the AEDC.
Speaking to newsmen, Engr Mohammed Haruna said they were invited to the DSS office through the Clerk of the House and it was because of their insistence to partner with other concerned Nigerians to demand quality service delivery and accountability from the AEDC.
The assemblyman said the poor supply of electricity in the State by the AEDC had attracted the attention of the House, which through popular resolution had set up a special committee and mandated it to interface and ensure improved power supply in the State.
He said the invitation will not deter them from carrying out their threat of shutting down hydro electric dams if power supply is not increased to at least 20 hours a day, in addition to the provision of prepaid meters to customers.
According to the State lawmaker, ‘the DSS asked us to come obviously on matters arising from the committee’s threat and by extension the State House of Assembly over irregular and erratic power supply in the State. Nothing to worry, nothing to fear.
‘Virtually all stakeholders have been involved; labour, youths, students and civil society organizations.’
Engr Mohammed Haruna said State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello was worried about the power supply in the Niger. He disclosed that the Government was presently distributing 5,000 meters in an effort to assist in improving power supply in the State, adding that ‘every Nigerlite, from the Governor to the ordinary person on the street is concerned about power situation in the State.
‘It is a collective resolution from the house. It is our right and we are going to any length on this matter,’ he said.