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    Power outage, high temperature wreak havoc in Jalingo


    From Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo

    Soft speaking Nancy Bala lost her beloved husband in Lagos State late last year. That was after spending her life’s savings on his medical bills.

    After her husband’s death and burial, she had no better choice than to return to Jalingo, Taraba State, to stay with her sisters. She now sells local beverages such as Kunu and Zobo, alongside doughnuts.

    As the demand for her drinks increased, she hurriedly secured a soft facility from a local bank to boost her business. However, this right thinking business move has since turned to her worst nightmare. Her drinks, stored in the freezer, got soured and spoilt a few days ago due to the long power outage in the state capital.

    Her tragic story is a milder version of the tales of losses, anguish and agony suffered by many residents of Jalingo and other parts of the state on account of low power outage. This situation is worsened by the scorching heat roasting the city in the recent past.

    For many residents of the once beautiful city, this power blackout is too hard to forget. Speaking to Daily Sun, resident and trader at the Central Market, Jalingo, Ladi Yunusa, said: “I am not used to queuing for water. This time too, I’ve been so busy to even join the queue.

    “The consequence is that I have no water to meet my needs. Eventually, I had to skip a whole market day to try and get water for my home at the risk of losing some of my vegetables.”

    Bello Abdullahi said: “Life is hell living in the city without power, especially at a time when the temperature, even at night, is over 40 degree Celsius.”

    Desperate to get a breath of fresh air, no matter how little, many Jalingo residents have resorted to sleeping outside their compounds. Those who fit into this class are largely the poor who could not afford the use generators. But there is a challenge.

    Victor Uloko, a resident of Mayodasa, Jalingo, narrated: “Last Sunday, we slept outside our house due to the heat. At some point around midnight, I noticed some noise and jolted up, only to discover that someone had made his way into our compound and had carted away our phones, power banks and even my TV.

    “We raised the alarm and many people came out but it was too late. This is about the fifth time, in the same week, that this kind of theft is happening in our area.”

    To worsen the plights of the residents, the long lasting power outage has also resulted in acute shortage of potable water in the capital. Families go for days without good water to bath, to cook or to drink and many have fallen to ill health as a result of the quality of water.

    Memuna Idris said the power issue has also affected many small businesses, such as operators of hair dressing saloons, frozen foods and restaurants. Terms Chikpa is Chief Executive Officer, Treasure Restaurant at Mile Six: “When we started operations, we had no issue with water as the vendors were everywhere.

    “We were buying a jerry can of water for ₦500. As we speak, you have to go around scouting for the vendors (Mairuwa) before getting one. And the price is not just friendly-going for anything between ₦1000 and ₦1500 per a 25-litre jerry can of water. Some will even charge you more.”

    Theresa Ekpeyong operates a hairdressing saloon: “We operate with a lot of water and power, both of which are not available at the moment.

    “The work we do here, there is no way you can do it well without power. When they took the light at first I tried to operate with generator. But now, fuel is no longer affordable. We are in a mess.

    “How can you buy fuel at over ₦1500 per litre? How many minutes will you use it before it goes off? How much will you now charge your customers?”

    An official of Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC), Jalingo Office, who spoke to Daily Sun in confidence, traced the blackout to the vandalism of their infrastructure.

    General Manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said in a statement: “The Transmission Company of Nigeria hereby states that four towers along the Jos-Gombe 330kV transmission line were vandalised at about 3:32 pm, on April 22, 2024.

    “TCN notes that when the 330kV transmission line tripped, its operators attempted to restore it to service. But it tripped again, prompting the dispatch of TCN lines men to trace the line in order to detect and rectify the fault.

    “While fault tracing, TCN’s engineering crew discovered that towers 288, 289, 290 and 291 were vandalised and that some tower members were carted away. Also, the towers equally collapsed as a result of the incident.

    “Presently, bulk power supply to Gombe, Yola and Jalingo sub-stations have been disrupted, affecting bulk power supply to parts of Yola and Jos Electricity Distribution Companies’ franchise areas.

    “To mitigate the effects of the incident on electricity consumers affected by the incident, TCN is trying to first back feed Gombe through its 132kV transmission line from Bauchi and subsequently Ashaka, Potiskum, Damaturu and Billiri-Savannah.

    “We will do everything possible to ensure that supply is restored to the affected areas, while efforts are made to reconstruct the four vandalised towers.”

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