A water tanker drives to a halt inside the girls’ hostel of Bayero University Kano, popularly known as “Ramat”, girls scamper here and there to fetch water from the tanker in order to serve their needs.
Way into the night, after the generator light goes off at 11pm, shouts of “give us our solar,” rents the air among boys of the popular Dantata hostel. Soon, this generates a chain reaction and everyone is chanting the same maxim across Dangote, Sa’adu Zungur and Yar’Adua hostels.
This is a result of four days’ blackout in the University and its environs, closely after Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo launched a 7.1 megawatt Solar Hybrid Power Plant seated inside the University.
The uninterrupted blackout may not be unconnected with the Transmission Company of Nigeria(TCN)/Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) impasse; however, students had expected that the newly launched Solar Plant will come handy as an alternative power system.
The Solar power project had been planned to provide electricity supply for about 55,815 students and 3,077 staff of the University.
While launching the plant on Tuesday 3rd September, the Vice President said the project will benefit “thousands of students and other members of the University Community, as well as enhance teaching, research and learning.”
However, infomedia observed that as at Sunday 8th September, the plant has yet to start serving this purpose.
“As you can see, there has been no power for days except for when the University turn on the generator for students from 7pm to 11pm” a 300 level student of accounting confided in infomedia.
Speaking further, she said the water issue is another disturbing angle to the current situation, “this water tanker…” she said, pointing to the tanker, “…should carry more than ten thousand liters of water, but this is the third time today it is serving over 800 students in this hostel alone because all the time it had come, the water isn’t just enough.”
Various students who spoke to our correspondent on the matter, expressed their dissatisfaction with the mystery surrounding the Solar Plant.
A student who simply identified herself as Queen from Asiya hostel told infomedia that she is not impressed with the water scarcity in BUK, “there have not been water for like three days now and we have been having challenge. We are not happy about it. We have been told that the Vice President of Nigeria came to commission a solar system but we have not seen any result so far.
Before the day he came we had light but immediately he set his foot out of BUK there have not been light. It has not been good. Look at how girls are standing, lining up and even fighting because they need water to cook, they need water to bathe, they need water to use the restroom, they need water to do anything and you know when there is no light there can’t be water so it will be a good thing if we can get power.”
Another student who craved anonymity told infomedia that, “sincerely we have been suffering for light and especially water this past days. The water is not enough, we are all scampering and even fighting for water. Imagine the lineup for water yet it is not enough.” On the Solar plant, she simply enthused, “The launching by the Vice President is all propaganda, ever since he came to launch that thing, power has not been stable even if we eventually get power, it is supply from the school generator and once its 11pm the generator is turned off without even an extra added minuites. Now you can see for yourself, look at how they are fighting because of water.” She said, pointing at the scamper scene.
She called on the school management to expedite action on resolving the crisis especially as it has to do with pumping water into various hostels.
It will be recalled that the Market Operator (MO) a section of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) had on Thursday 5th September, said it has notified the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), on the intent to terminate its rights in the electricity market from September 10, 2019.
MO said the step followed KEDCO’s failure to raise its energy payment guarantee 30 days after it was suspended.
However, in a separate release through its Head of Cooperate Communication, Mr. Ibrahim Sani Shawai, KEDCO denied any issue of terminating it’s right in the electricity market adding that the two hitherto disconnected feeders by TCN has been restored to full capacity and have effectively been put to use.
Mr. Shawai has described the relationship between KEDCO and TCN as “good partners in progress” but days after the information, the city is still in blackout.
Infomedia could neither reach authorities of the University nor those of the Rural Electrification Agancy (REA) – The Agency responsible for the Solar Plant project – for their comments as at the time of filling this report.