BY FRANCIS OKOYE, Maiduguri
Business owners and residents of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital are counting their losses as a result of three months without electricity following the destruction of Transmission Company of Nigeria ( TCN ) transmission line along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.
LEADERSHIP reports that on the 25th of January this year, the suspected Boko Haram terrorists planted improvised explosive device ( IEDs ) and brought down TCN transmission line along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway which supply electricity to Maiduguri.
It took staff of TCN in collaboration with Borno State government more than seven weeks to restore back the light, but barely 72 hours after the restoration, the terrorists again destroyed another transmission line along the road and since then, residents of Maiduguri have remained disconnected from the national grid, thereby crippling the already battered economy of Borno following years of Boko Haram insurgency.
Maiduguri is known for its excess and harsh heat condition in this period of the year, and this period has coincided with the time most citizens are observing the Ramadan fast.
Speaking to our correspondent in Maiduguri at the weekend, chairman Local Engineering and Construction Workers Association, Borno State, Auwal Mohammed, said the power failure in the state has thrown many of his members out of business, adding that a lot of business opportunities have been lost because members could not meet up with demands of customers due to lack of electricity.
He lamented that apart from throwing his members out of job, government is also losing much in revenue as all businesses that depended on electricity for generation of income are now frustrated.
“ Because of the power failure which is now in its third month, members are living from hands to mouth for survival. Those that can afford diesel or fuel for their generator spend over N6000 a day to do their work and at the end of the day, profit made are nothing to write home about. Government should know what to do to restore electricity back to the state otherwise many businesses would fold up,” Mohammed said.
For Mohammed Sabo, chairman, Iceblock Sellers Association, Bakin General Hospital Maiduguri, the power failure has hit their business and affected customers who depended on the ice block for icing of their beverages to sell.
He said because of the power failure, ice block that is sold for N10 to N20 when there was power supply is now sold between N50 and N100.
“ We are not happy with the lingering power failure in the state. It has really affected our ice block production. After spending about N7000 to fuel generator in a day, you will discover that nothing much as profit is following you home. We are even operating at loss just to maintain our customers. Government should quickly work for restoration of the light. If things continue this way, many of us will shut down our businesses”, Sabo said.
Business and computer centre operators are not left out in the lamentation over lingering power outage in Maiduguri as some of them are operating on skeletal basis.
A business centre operator at Baba Musami business area, Friday Emmanuel said they are running at loss, adding that profits they made are spent repairing their generators.
Speaking on the plight of residents and business owners amid the three months power outage, the sole administrator, Borno State Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Alhaji Ahmed Ashemi said the power failure has done much to the economy of the state particularly at the micro level, noting that the lowest echelon of business has been adversely affected.