For over 45days now, the most conspicuous parts of Kawo situated along the Kaduna-Zaria road have been without power. This area is second only to the Central Market as a major business hub in Kaduna.
It harbors, in addition to three big banking brands, many micro enterprises such as makers of pure water, welders, grain millers and blenders, etc. That’s all in addition to its being the second major market for food crops, vegetables and other major staple food items in Kaduna. Yet in the last 45 days, this area has been cut off completely from the national grid. Reportedly, the cause is a faulty transformer – the same transformer located deep inside the residential areas bordering the Kawo market, and which has been causing nightmares for the numerous businesses and residents of Kawo since the days of NEPA, is the one that has now finally packed up.
(Ironically replacing this transformer with a brand new one is reportedly a condition for the sale of the KEDCO franchise to the current owners.) Meanwhile, two years ago, a certain politician from Kaduna North, of whose constituency Kawo is a major part, donated and installed a brand new transformer located at the Zaria Road by Lafiya Road, Kawo Bus Stop, to resolve the acute issues of power surges and power cuts which have incessantly afflicted and crippled business activities in this area. But all through the two long years, KEDCO has obstinately refused to power the transformer.
Rather, in their initial demands, the company demanded to be paid upfront, sums of money equivalent to the actual cost of the transformer and its installation before they would power it. Now two years later, and after more than 40 days of blackout contrived deliberately to cripple all the micro enterprises around the Kawo market hub and keep whole families in perpetual darkness, KEDCO has come up with new demands before it would reconnect the area.
First, they said the new transformer will only serve Government House Kawo and the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna. If Kawo residents wish to be served through the same new transformer, they must be ready to pay a monthly extortionate flat rate of N5000 as estimated bill for each household. And so a constituency project designed to serve the needs of the concerned politician’s constituents has now been illegally seized and conscripted into the service of a profit-oriented private company which KEDCO is. Moreover, in all these manouevres by KEDCO, there isn’t any mention of the possible installation of pre-paid meters for the Kawo households as stipulated in regulations enacted by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to guide operations of the so-called DISCOS. In the alternative, and this is an even more rancid and flagrant scam, KEDCO is presently collecting from every business concern and household in the area covered by the blackout a contribution of N3, 000 each towards footing the bill for the rehabilitation of the old transformer.
This, it is claimed, is a directive from the chief engineer at KEDCO to ensure speed in the repair and reconnection through the old transformer. Presently residents and businesses concerned are all busy struggling to meet up with paying this illegal levy towards propping what is strictly a private business concern which KEDCO is.
Yusuf Nagi Ahmad, Kawo – Kaduna