Nigeria: Fear of Pollution Heightens As Nasarawa Residents Turn to Generators

5 August 2020

Lafia — Erratic power supply from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has forced many commercial ventures located in plazas, markets, homes, schools and other facilities in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, and beyond, to use generators.

However, residents are expressing serious concern over the widespread use of generators as it leads to increased noise and air pollution and their far-reaching impact on their health.

A supermarket manager at Naira Plaza, along Shendam Road in Lafia, Adam Abdulaziz Ibrahim, said "Generators are the only solution for now to run our equipment in the supermarket, like freezers, lighting, among others.

"Lafia is a hot town between January and June, we have to use generators to cool drinks for customers and to avoid perishable goods rotting away among others.

"That is why we are alternating between a big diesel generator in the afternoon and a medium sized petrol generator in the evening," Abdulaziz said.

According to him, children jubilate whenever light is restored, as the noise and air pollutions from different types of the Chinese and Indian generators are switched off.

Similarly, many civil servants who did not want to give their names, said they most times have to leave their offices which are without cooling to others to work; and to stay away from the noise pollution from generators.

Most Ministries, Departments and Agencies or boards have two big generators. The big ones have the capacity to power air conditioners and freezers, while the small ones are used to power fans and office equipment only.

Meanwhile, Aso Chronicle recalls that Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) had said, in November last year, that it has concluded plans to boost power supply in Nasarawa State in the first quarter of 2020, when the Lafia 330/132kv substation project, which was at 95% execution level, is completed.

The manager in charge of transmission in NDPHC, Engr Umar Abubakar Modibbo, stated this during the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) scoping workshop of the proposed Lafia 330/132/33kv substation.

He said the project, which is located in Akurba in Lafia, is to be fed by the existing 33kv DC Makurdi -Jos transmission line which passes through Lafia.

He further explained that all the major works on the substation would be completed on December 23, 2019 and that by first quarter of 2020, the people of Lafia and environs would start enjoying 24 hours power supply.

"In addition, it will boost power supply to border communities of neighboring states such as northern Benue, southeastern Kaduna as well as southern Plateau states," he explained.

Enumerating the benefits of the project to the community leaders, he said the 330kv substation would bring about rapid socio-economic and environmental development as the cost of production of goods and services would drastically reduce.

"Attraction of foreign investors, establishment of facilities and small-scale businesses and job opportunities among others, are among the benefits of the project," he said

He gave a breakdown of some of the auxiliary power projects handled by NDPHC to include 121 transmission projects spanning across the country that are divided into 49 live project and 72 substations, adding that the project would evacuate power from the generating stations to the national grid.

Speaking earlier, the General Manager, Environmental Community Relations, NDPHC, Mr Eze Odigbo, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Olajide Olubunmi, said the EIA will take 18 months to complete giving enough time to assess the risks involved in the project.

He said the NDPHC is intervening in places where electricity supply has been deficient in recent years.

Odigbo also explained that the 330/132/33kv substation in Lafia would significantly help transform the state into an economic hub with improved supply of electricity.

Similarly, last month, Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule inspected the Akurba 330/132kv substation, now at 98 percent completion stage.

"From what you can see, all the technical work has already been completed. The panels have been energized and tested. It's just for them to connect the lines-in, lines-out, for distribution to the various places," the governor stated.

Also speaking, representative of AK-AY Elektrik, the contractor handling the project, Engineer Samson Johnson, confirmed that the Akurba power substation is at 98 percent completion level.

"Technically we are done except for the problem of the turn-in, turn-out, which the governor went all the way to Abuja to address.

"We have not shut down, even with the threat of COVID-19. We have been working to give Nasarawa people what they deserve," he stated.

When contacted on the increasing noise pollution in Lafia and major towns like, Keffi, Nasarawa and Karu, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Musa Ibrahim, disclosed that noise pollution from generators will soon end.

He said, "The state will soon end the noise and pollution from the increasing number of generator users both at residential and commercial centres.

"We know that the noise pollution is increasing due to the high demand for energy by the citizenry, but it will soon end when the new substation in Akurba town is commissioned," he said.

Musa Ibrahim said the state government is concerned about the noise and called on generator users to avoid keeping them inside their houses or shops, to avoid damages to their health.

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