It seems that the unending wait for electricity will never cease with the continued promise of government to provide power to the over 150 million Nigerians. In this report, Anthony Ada Abraham seeks the views of some shop owners at UTC (Area 10) market, and Sky Memorial Mall, to ascertain the level and effect of noise pollution and how power failure has continued to elude small scale businesses in Nigeria.
Nigerians are going through the most critical time of their lives with people waiting endlessly for dividends of democracy.
Electricity and fuel are of vital importance to the masses and anything that hamper them could result in uprising.
Noise pollution is no longer a problem to the masses as the endless wait for those elected to provide all these necessities has proven futile.
Recently, the presidency announced the increment of electricity tariffs by 11 per cent, from June 1, 2012 which was championed by Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
While some Nigerians believed it was another way of wringing innocent people’s little income to pay more for darkness, others have continued to call on the Commission to provide pre-paid meters for consumers to avoid differences in the volume of power consumption and amount accruable to government every month.
According to a report, the Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, explained that the proposed increase would enable the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to recover the cost of generating and distributing electricity for domestic and industrial consumption, even as he stressed that Nigeria was far below South Africa in electricity generation and must increase tariff for serious investors to come in, in order to optimise output in the sector.
According to him, the current power generation capacity of between 3, 600 and 4,800Mega Watts (MW) daily, out of which about 200 megawatts were kept in reserve to take care of system collapse, was not sufficient for a population of over 160milion. He explained that Nigeria needed at least between 22, 000 to 25,000 MW of daily electricity generation capacity to ensure constant and uninterrupted power supply.
Aside from electricity tariff hike, NERC has also approved new charges, which must be paid by customers for installation of meters across 11 distribution companies under the supervision of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
But since the June 1 announcement, it seems they have decided to turn a blind eye to the promise they made.
Though many would say it is still early, but all Nigerians want is result. The event that transpired during the January 1st announcement by Gooodluck Jonathan is still fresh in the mind of the people.
A walk to the popular Plaza, Sky Memorial Complex at Zone 5 will tell you that companies manufacturing power generator would do everything possible to further ensure that generators were not phased out as hardly hardly will you find a shop without a power generating set.
According to Jami’u, a shop owner at Sky Memorial Complex, who also looked stressed from noise: ‘I must tell you my brother, I am like a confused man whenever I come here to work...’ This place is so noisy that sometimes those big men who are the cause of all these problem, when they come here to do some printing job, will never wait...why? They say they can’t listen to noise. The only thing I say sometimes is you can go, later I will call you when I’m through,’ the angry looking Jami’u stressed.
Also Esther, a computer operator in the same plaza said they were now used to it.
‘We are used to it...they gave us meter but some of them will always want to do ‘chua chua’ before they install it for you, some will say they can do everything . I will like the government to do something because even in Kubwa where I stay, we hardly get light. I am tired of government’s promises,’ she laments.
At popular Area 10 Mug Plaza and UTC it is as if one is entering another world. The noise there is devastating, annoying and unhealthy.
According to John Chiwumba, anything that would benefit the masses, those in the helm of affairs find it difficult to provide.
‘I have been in this plaza for the past 10 years and I will tell you that it is getting worst. Since the coming of this regime, there has been reduction to power supply. We used to enjoy power at least 6-8 hours a day and we back it up with our generators, but now we don’t even enjoy light...and at the end of the month they will bring huge electricity bills that we didn’t consume to pay. There was a time we told them to disconnect the light because it was no use paying for what you don’t consume.’
Though effort to consult a health expert on this issue was futile as he was not on sit.
The promise made by the president Goodluck Jonathan should be followed up so that it won’t end up like the fuel subsidy scandals.