Birnin-Kebbi — People in Birnin-Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital, experienced total blackout and shortage of portable drinking water for over 20 hours following a fire outbreak which coincided with the industrial action embarked upon by staff of Kaduna Zone of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
When newsmen visited PHCN office in Birnin-Kebbi yesterday, the Business Manager in charge of the area, Umar Muhammad Jabo, declined comment and directed them to a staff of the company.
The officer said the blackout which plunged the state capital into darkness, was not as a result of industrial action but a consequence of a fire outbreak which occurred Tuesday around 6:pm at the electricity distribution centre in Birnin-Kebbi.
"There was fire outbreak at our distribution centre which has affected some of our gadgets and as such electricity supply was interrupted.
"As I am talking you now we are working hard to address the situation in spite of the strike," he said.
The officer attributed the perennial power problem in the state capital to inadequate transformers, emphasizing that the state capital, Birnin Kebbi, has only three transformers of 7.5 X3 KVA which, according to him, cannot meet the demand of the people, especially during the hot weather.
Daily Trust observed that the power supply was off between 6:00pm of Tuesday to Wednesday 3:00pm as PHCN staff embarked on their strike demanding for payment of some benefits.
Effort to reach State Chairman of the National Electricity Workers Union (NEWU) Murtala Usman, proved abortive as he did not answer several calls made to him via his phone and also did not reply text message sent to him.