Residents of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital in the northeast Nigeria were on Wednesday evening thrown into wild jubilation as electricity returned to the town two months after Boko Haram destroyed the transmission lines, putting the whole state in total darkness.
Although Maiduguri, the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency has not been enjoying constant electricity supply since the conflict began in 2009, the few hours of electricity they have in a day means a lot to the people.
Often, transmission lines are vandalised by the insurgents or sometimes as a result of the ongoing battle, but the last time Boko Haram took on the lines was to ensure that the state electricity never returned to the city.
When the government attempted to restore power in the state two weeks after the destruction, terrorists planted IEDs along the path, killing some staff of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, who were working to restore electricity and injuring others, including some soldiers.
Abuja Chronicle reports that the two-month blackout was caused by the destruction of some of the towers supplying electricity to the city from the national grid by the insurgents along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road. This brought some set back even to the military in the prosecution of the ongoing conflict in the northeast, Nigeria.
Residents, commending the effort and commitment shown by the staff of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, the military and Borno Government in restoring the light on Thursday said, it would not have been possible without the drive from the men who put their lives on the line to ensure electricity is back in the city.
“All the electricity staff who worked on the line both living and dead deserve commendation, alongside the soldiers providing them security during the work. They even encountered a bomb attack while working to restore the light.
“Our Governor, Babagana Zulum, also deserve special commendation for his contribution to ensure that we get light,” one of the residents, Ibrahim Abubakar told newsmen in Maiduguri.
Another resident, Sadisu Mohammed said, “We really suffered without light in view of the hot weather. We were worried even as the rainy season is setting in. The heat in the night, mosquitos and the high cost of fuel to power our small generators is telling on many families and the Ramadan fasting is also coming.”
Confirming the restoration of electricity in the city, the Corporate Communication Manager of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC), in charge of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Taraba States, Mr Kingsley Nkemneme, said since the incident on January 29, all stakeholders had been working to address the problem.