Communities protest over two-week power outage in Niger

There was a pandemonium on Wednesday in some communities near to Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Station when some protesters blocked Shakwut-Shiroro Road over the failure of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to provide them electricity.

The affected communities, according to The Herald, included Sarkin-Pawa, Erena, Shakwatu Zumba, Mutumdaya, among others. The protesters blocked the road and chanted war songs obstructing the free flow of traffic. They lamented the fact that AEDC had failed to supply them electricity for more than two weeks despite their proximity to the source of energy.

They protested against the increase in their monthly bills from N1,000 to N1,500, stating there was no power so why would they pay the extra charges. During the incident, armed soldiers were deployed to help in dispersing the protesters, who did not want to back down.
A witness said demonstrators lay on the road, and told the soldiers to shoot them. The soldiers were forced to retreat as they could not make any headway.

Also, the members of a non-governmental organisation, Youth Lead Nigeria, had also laid siege to the Niger State headquarters of the AEDC in Minna for the second day in a row. The youths had barred entry for any worker going in or coming out. Mohammed Etsu, the Coordinator of the group, stated that they were protesting with the villagers on Wednesday due to AEDC’s failure on an agreement to give 12 hours’ power supply to the state daily.

An AEDC official purported the problem to a marked decrease in the supply which was coming from the national grid. According to an unnamed official, the state’s megawatts daily had reduced by as much as 71 as they were receiving 29 megawatts daily, as opposed the 100 megawatts they got before.

Etsu, however, described the claim as false, saying AEDC “is deliberately refusing to buy energy.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Paul Yakadi, reportedly attempted to address the issue but there is no evidence of any progress in trying to get the youths and villagers to stop protesting as of this time.