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Stop Playing With Our Intelligence, KEDCO

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By Abdu Labaran Malumfashi.

The writer has two houses, in Abuja and in Katsina, where I keep a family in each. But for reasons that are not for public consumption, I live most of the time in Abuja, which is not saying that I forsake Katsina completely. I visit Katsina now and then. After all, it is my state of origin, and the staying place of the kins and others dear to me.

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Recently, I was in Katsina as is my wont, to visit the other family and those kins and others who are dear to me. While there, where I remained for a couple of days, I made a ‘phone call to a sister in Kaduna who, after some inquiries, told me that the supply of electricity “has greatly improved, to the extent that I can say without any fear of contradiction that we get electricity regularly”. It is a pleasant news to hear. It is more than can be said in Katsina, I said to myself.

I did an article on the company that is supposed to supply electricity to its customers in the north west. The name of the article is: DISCOS: Agents Of Darkness. It was written on 25-4-2024. In that article, I showed the pathetic non light situation that its customers were going through, and the experience was not worth repeating.

Another article titled ‘The Power Minister Is Unserious’ was earlier written by the same author on 01–05-2024, in an effort to see to the improvement of the electricity supply in the north west. The situation has not improved in any way worth reporting to any interested party.

We are living in the time of three ‘heats’. These are the natural heat, where the temperature is extremely hot, with only Maiduguri in Borno state perhaps hotter than the north western part of the country, the ‘heat’ made to most people in the country by the prohibitive cost of petroleum, and the ‘heat’ caused by the Kano Distribution Company, (better known as KEDCO) because of the irregular supply of electricity it provides most of the time, instead of the constant supply that the customers need, especially at this moment. But KEDCO seems to be playing with our intelligence, with its on-and-off supply of electricity policy.

When I finally managed to go into a pit full sleep in the night, I was usually uncomfortably awoken soaked in my sweat, the almighty power supplier in the area had done what it was infamously known for, the removal of the electricity after a brief period of respite.

In any case, the absence of the constant supply of electricity has the huge potential to drive away those who are willing to invest in the area, whether they are locals or foreigners. This is so because someone could not run a profitable business running on generators, no matter how big or small the business is.

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For the umpteenth time, I wonder at the so called privatisation of the National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA), in the first place. My question is predicated on the fact that the new owners (in the case of the north west, KEDCO) are no better than NEPA, when it comes to the ‘regular’ supply of electricity to the homes, offices and businesses of their customers.

Despite the privatisation of the sector by past governments, the absence of constant supply of electricity would seem to suggest that the exercise was not done in good faith. Most, if not all, may seem to have been sold to the ‘fronts’ of the sellers, whoever they might be.

And then the company may have a new identity, as the home of the criminally minded employees. Some of its staff and former staff are not in any way helping its image to the outside world.

Recently, a dismissed employee of the company’s was apprehended by the police in Kano state for allegedly murdering his former boss and mentor at the company. The lifeless body of the victim was found in another local government area away from Kano city.

Some of KEDCO’s staff are also in the habit of going to the houses of those that they ‘suspect’ are not very up in the society and hoodwink them of their ‘old’ meter, under the pretext that it is totally in a bad shape and that they would repair and return it to the owner. And that will be the end of the story for the owner, as they would sell it to the highest bidder they could find.

Here, one finds the complicity of the company, because it allegedly ordered for ‘special’ meters that operate very fast, so much that the Hausas call them (new meters) ‘Barewa’, meaning antelope in English, known for its exceptional speed that is said to be second only to that of the cheetah in the animal kingdom.

A former deputy governor in one of the states in the north west, was at a time, forced to return the speedy meter back to the company when his housekeeper asked him for money to recharge the electricity meter. It was a few days after the last meter recharge of something like N100,000k.

The non regular power supply situation in the area is so bad that one could not afford to start on anything that depends on electricity without making adequate preparation for an alternative source of power, in the event that the predictable happens, which is almost all the time. Or someone should do otherwise at their own risk. And there are the dastardly bandits, making comfortable living doubly difficult in the area.

May God help us , once more.

Malam Malumfashi wrote from Abuja.

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