New Nyanya: A Nasarawa state community in 8-month darkness

Residents of New Nyanya in Karu local government area of Nasarawa state have lived in total darkness for eight months. In this report, TOPE SUNDAY captures their agonies and frustrations.

New Nyanya is an Abuja neighbouring community, though located in Karu in Nasarawa State. The majority of its residents ply their trades in Abuja and return to the community at night to re-unite with their families or loved ones. However, the once bustling community has been in a pervasive darkness for the past eight months, leaving its residents in a state of frustration and uncertainty.

At the community, what was once a vibrant hub of life has now become a symbol of neglect, as the absence of electricity continues to cast a shadow over the daily lives of its inhabitants.
For the residents of New Nyanya, the lack of electricity is not just an inconvenience; it’s a pressing issue that affects every aspect of their lives. Necessities such as lighting, cooking, and refrigeration have become luxuries, forcing families to adapt to a lifestyle devoid of modern comforts.
The situation has also taken a toll on the local economy, with businesses struggling to stay afloat in the absence of reliable power supply. Small-scale entrepreneurs, who once thrived in this bustling community, now find themselves grappling with dwindling profits and uncertainty about the future.
Moves to restore electricity
For residents around the Blue House/Timber Shed area of New Nyanya, it has been eight months now since they saw the last flash of light after the two pole-mounted transformers that serve the area packed up.
According to accounts, at a point, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) under whose franchise Nasarawa State falls in terms of power supply sent its men who removed the Blue House transformer and took it to their workshop to repair and come and reinstall, but never came back.

A resident, Mr. Joseph Atebije, who has been following up from AEDC’s local office up to the headquarters at Wuse Zone 4 to no avail, told this reporter that during the several efforts they made to get updated from the workshop, they were told the transformer was yet to be fixed because there were no materials.

“Most recently, sources from within AEDC raised our hope, as they told us that materials had arrived for ten transformers, ours included, and we were happy, only to be devastated by later information from the same sources that the materials were meant for the repair of two transformers being pushed by some high ranking government officials.
“At a point, we sought to retrieve the transformer and repair it for AEDC to come and install, which they accepted, but the process has not yet been finalised,” he said.

He lamented the negative impact of the protracted darkness on the socio-economic life of the people.

“For eight months now we have been in darkness here, even with the intensity of heat, with no water, no fuel. There are security threats everywhere now. Some nano business owners have closed their shops. This is not fair.”

Another resident, Mr. Owoicho Olegbo, the general manager of a guest house in the area, while recounting their ordeal, said they became tired after being referred from one AEDC office to another, up to their headquarters, for weeks without result.

He said, “We’re dying in silence here because we don’t have any influential people in the government. I became fed up and decided to get a new 50kVA transformer, but you’ll be amazed at the cost they gave us at the AEDC office: N10.5 million. Testing it alone, they said, is N500, 000.”

They, therefore, called on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Federal government to intervene as a matter of urgency to salvage the situation and save the people’s souls.
Others lament

Also, a resident, Mrs. Adaeze Okonkwo, said the blackout was taking a toll on her and her children, adding that she felt abandoned by the government.

“We’ve been living in darkness for far too long. It’s affecting our children’s education, our businesses, and our overall well-being. We feel abandoned by the authorities,” she said.

In her lamentation, a mother of three and a long-time resident of the community, Mrs. Aisha Ibrahim, expressed her dismay thus, “It’s been incredibly difficult trying to manage without electricity. Our children struggle to study at night, businesses are suffering, and basic tasks like cooking become monumental challenges. The lack of electricity has also had a significant impact on businesses operating within the community.”

On his part, a shop owner, Malam Aminu Abdullahi, lamented that, “I’ve had to close my shop early every day because I can’t afford to run a generator for long hours. This has led to a drastic decline in sales, putting my livelihood at risk.”
Likewise, Mrs. Ihuoma Pascal, said the situation has compounded the current hardship being faced in the country for the residents.
According to her, every day she buys a full truck of water from water vendors, popularly called Mai Ruwas, at the rate of N700 for her family’s use.

“It’s not as if I have the money, but, as you know, using water is not optional for any human being. This is just one side of it. We also have to buy petroleum or diesel, as the case may be, whose prices are beyond the roof now to be able to use our generators, especially at night.
“The suffering is too much, for eight months now or thereabout. And all we heard every day was that the “NEPA people” who came and took away our transformer to fix and bring back said it was in their workshop, but there were no materials to start working on it.
“Can they give such excuses to residents of Maitama in Abuja? Certainly not, and that tells you the kind of suffering the masses are enduring in silence in this country,” she told Blueprint Weekend and called on the authorities to come to their aid.

Some of the residents who are not yet metered also expressed concerns that AEDC will still bring them bills at the end for them to pay for the dark era.

“They normally bring the bills for people to pay for unused electricity when the light is restored; this time, I will not take that,” said a resident, Patrick Okon.
According to him, due to the hopelessness of the situation, some residents have switched to the nearest transformer for their power needs.

He also joined others in calling for the government’s urgent intervention to restore the electricity supply in the area.
However, efforts to reach the AEDC management for comment proved abortive, but a senior official at the Ado Area office of the company, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment on the issue, said the matter is before the AEDC’s management.
The senior official, who appealed for calm, however, said the matter was already being attended to.