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Ibadan Residents Lament as Electricity Outage, Fuel Scarcity Paralyse Businesses

The past couple of weeks have been challenging for many Nigerians following the lingering scarcity of fuel in many parts of the country, coupled with low power supply.

Many residents of Ibadan have lamented the worsening power supply describing it as extra burden, counting their loses and hardship as the adverse effects take a toll on their livelihood.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Friday, the residents agreed on the need for the government to speed up actions in addressing the two challenges, which is already having adverse effect on not just businesses but people’s health and safety.

A resident who works with a private organisation in Ibadan, Mr. Layiwola Aina said that the situation was so bad, having to suffer from two major things enabling livelihood.

“It is not a sweet experience and it is highly unexpected. To think that we will have to face this, is uncalled for. People are not happy with the present situation.

“We just hope to see what the government promised, because the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, last weekend, promised an end to the fuel scarcity soon”.

Another resident whose name is Aina bitterly lamented, “The power that we are generating in this country is also not available for use; this is terrible.

Mrs Olubisi Adegoke, a food vendor, said the two crises had negatively affected her business.

“We use phone torch to see, because of lack of power and fuel scarcity, and the battery won’t last either.

“All the food we have stored had spoilt and we are at a great loss, because the perennial fuel scarcity has led to  increase in the cost of food, transportation and other essential needs.

“To really describe the impact of the present situation is beyond words.

“In the last one week, my business has sunk. We were barely surviving with the COVID-19 economic downturn; now I don’t know what to call the situation at hand,” Adegoke cried.

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Also, Mr Akin Aborishade, a barber, said it had now become difficult to open his shop to customers.

“I live far away from my shop, which means that I will have to trek or pay double transport fare to get to the shop.

“On getting there, you will find out that you barely have power supply and then, you keep looking for petrol at all cost. If I charge N800 per service, who will pay?

“People visit the barber’s shop, not as much as before, because times have changed.

“Is it those who hardly come to barb their hair that will now pay higher fee? The situation we are in is indeed a tough one,” Aborishade said.

Similarly, Mrs Victoria Ayeni, a fashion designer at Ajeigbe area of Ring Road, lamenting the poor electricity supply in her area, said her ability to deliver on time had been hindered.

“One will sew clothes, but cannot iron, because there’s no light. There is no way I can deliver the clothes like that because they will be rough.

“This is really affecting my business, because the earlier I deliver the sewn clothes, the better for me to collect my money and even get more clothes from my customers,” she said.

Also, Mrs Charity Bello, who lives at Dikat, Ring Road, said her family had been negatively affected by what she described as epileptic power supply.

“For instance, I can’t cook food and put in the fridge again, because if I do, I will end up throwing it away.

“We have been drawing water from the well, because there’s no light to pump water.

“The worst part of it is that there is fuel scarcity. One hardly sees where to buy fuel to power the generator, as many filling stations are not selling and the few available ones are selling between N185 and N200 per litre.

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“The heat is also too much and this is not good for the children, who are already having heat burns. Many people around us here don’t sleep in their rooms at night, because there is no light.

“This epileptic power supply has been like this in this area since December 2021, but it had become worse since January.

“The situation is really dealing with us. We beg the government, IBEDC and whoever can intervene in this to please come to our aid,” she said.

Meanwhile, civil servants have started enjoying the free transportation service put together by Oyo state government to ease the effects of the fuel scarcity.

The free transport service conveys workers to and fro the state secretariat at Agodi, running the Ife tollgate-Adegbayi-Alakia-Iwo road route and the Ojoo-UI-Bodija route.

Mrs Ebunoluwa Oladele, a civil servant residing at Oluwo area of Ibadan, said the free transport service had been a great relief to her.

According to her, she would have been spending about N800 as daily transport fare, instead of the N450 she used to spend before the scarcity.

Another civil servant, Mr Josiah Abiodun, from Egbeda area of Ibadan, said many state workers preferred the free transport services, because they could not cope with the high transport fare.

However, the situation is different for non-state workers like Mrs Funmilola Adebayo, a resident of Felele, Ibadan.

According to her, the hardship in the country is becoming worrisome, especially for the middle-class citizens.

“The easiest way to get fuel right now is through black market which many people can’t afford.

“The government and IBEDC should pity the citizens and find a way to provide constant light to make life easier for everyone,” she said.

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Another resident of Felele, Mr Habib Lawal, concluded that many had lost huge sums of money due to the power supply challenge.

“For instance, my wife, Amina, who sells Zobo and Tiger nuts drinks, lost all the drinks she had in the freezer. How are business owners, who thrive on electricity supply, meant to survive?

“Even those selling ice blocks have doubled the price and many have stopped producing, for now, as they can’t continue relying on generators,” he said.

To Mrs Grace Aina, a tomato seller, the cost of baskets of tomato and pepper had increased due to hike in transport fare.

Reacting to the shortage of power supply, Ms Busolami Tunwase, the Communication Officer, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), said the company had earlier released a statement on the situation.

“The management had said that due to a drop in the load allocation from the national grid, occasioned by low generation from the GenCos (generating companies), customers within Ibadan, Oyo, Ogun and Kwara are experiencing low power supply.

“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience,” the statement reads.

Also on the worrisome state of things, Mrs Comfort Ajayi, the Operations Controller, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authorities (NMDPRA), said that the agency had been up and doing in its regulatory duties, by going out to various areas of the state, from Ibadan to Saki and Iseyin, to ensure that filling stations comply with the official pump price.

She informed, “It is a general problem, and while the Federal Government and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) are trying to resolve the issue, we are trying our best to ensure that filling stations sell at the official price”.

Meanwhile only few filling stations like Bovas, SAO, NNPC, and so on are still selling fuel at the official pump price.

IFRAME SYNC

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