NIGERIA--Update on City Black Outgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
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Nigeria City Blacked Out
Story Filed: Monday, March 13, 2000 5:45 PM EST
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Doctors treated patients in a parking lot Monday as Nigeria's commercial capital struggled for a fifth day with almost no electricity or water supply.
The poorer areas of the city were in almost complete darkness, while women and children carrying jars on their heads roamed the city in search of water. Seventy percent of Lagos' water comes from an electricity-dependent plant on the outskirts of the city.
The government-owned National Electric Power Authority shut down its nationwide network Thursday after its thermal power generating systems in Lagos broke down. An explosion at a hydroelectric plant in northern Niger State compounded the company's problems.
Power was restored to some parts of the country on Sunday, but not at sufficient levels to power many domestic appliances. Businesses across the city were forced to shut down.
``Our work has come to a complete halt,'' said Emeka Okafor, who supplies computers to banks and oil firms. ``We have computers to supply but we cannot send them out without testing them.''
Even hospitals with generators were forced to reschedule surgeries because the trickle of electricity available was insufficient to power some equipment.
A surgery intern was suturing the wounds of an injured man in the parking lot at Lagos Island General Hospital, where he could get light from a building across the street which was powered by its own generator.
``You can see the conditions we're working under. Patients can die, and there's nothing we can do,'' Dr. Folabi Grillo said.
Power failures are common in Nigeria, earning NEPA the nickname ``Never Enough Power Anywhere.''
A NEPA spokesman said the company had received inadequate funding over the years to maintain its plants, warning that power failures were likely to persist until a major overhaul was done.
``Until adequate funds are made available, we are going to be in this unfortunate situation,'' said Malam Muhammed Mousa-Booth, a NEPA public relations official.
Copyright ) 2000 Associated Press Information Services, all rights reserved.
-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 13, 2000
WIRE:03/14/2000 15:56:00 ET Nigeria's president fires top brass at power utility LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) _ President Olusegun Obasanjo fired the entire senior management of Nigeria's beleaguered electricity monopoly on Tuesday as the country endured the sixth day of widespread power outages. The outage has left millions of people without lights or water and forced some businesses to shut. Doctors at one Lagos hospital performed surgery in parking lots lit by generators because of the problem.
The government-owned National Electric Power Authority is known for its disintegrating power plants, broken lines and haphazard service. Some Lagos neighborhoods regularly endure weeks of blackout.
But the recent outage is believed to be the worst since Nigeria's civil war ended 30 years ago.
It began Thursday when the power authority shut down its nationwide network after its thermal power generating systems in Lagos broke down. An explosion at a hydroelectric plant in northern Niger State compounded the company's problems.
Power was restored to some parts of the country on Sunday, but not at sufficient levels to power many domestic appliances.
"There can be only one verdict and this is that NEPA has failed woefully," Obasanjo said, announcing the firings. He did not say how many people would lose their jobs.
A power authority spokesman said Monday the company had received inadequate funding over the years to maintain its plants, warning that power failures were likely to persist until a major overhaul was done.
The government asked legislators to approve some $120 million for new thermal stations, radio stations reported Tuesday.
Nigeria was ruled by a series of deeply corrupt military governments for 15 years, leaving much of the country's infrastructure desperately crumbling. The junta rule ended with Obasanjo's election in February 1999.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), March 14, 2000.
A dire situation - power grid failure continues. "The worst is yet to come".... "Africa's energy giant is on the brink of collapse".....
Nigeria Has 6th Day of Power Outage
By GLENN McKENZIE, Associated Press Writer
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- When the lights go out in Nigeria, as they often do, diesel generators roar to life in rich suburbs. For the poor, candles will have to do.
Public hospitals postpone surgery. Government offices shut down. Africa's most populous nation -- and potentially one of its wealthiest -- grinds to a halt.
This struggling young democracy had its sixth straight day of intermittent, nationwide power failures Tuesday, posing a new threat to stability under President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration just weeks after Muslim-Christian religious riots are believed to have taken thousands of lives.
Energy experts said the blackout was worse than the frequent outages - - called ''lights out'' by Nigerians -- that became synonymous with the economic collapse during 15 years of rule by the country's former army dictators.
Doctors in the commercial capital of Lagos treated accident victims in a generator-lighted parking lot Monday night. Because the power failure means water also stopped flowing, women and children have been carrying jars and plastic barrels on their heads, roaming the city in search of water.
The government-owned National Electric Power Authority -- known unaffectionately by Nigerians as ''Never Enough Power Anywhere'' -- shut down its nationwide network Thursday after thermal power generating systems in Lagos broke down. An explosion at a hydroelectric plant in northern Niger State compounded the company's problems.
On Tuesday, furious over the widespread outages, Obasanjo fired NEPA's entire senior management because of their inability to deal with the crisis.
''There can be only one verdict and this is that NEPA has failed woefully,'' Obasanjo said, announcing the firings. He did not say how many people would lose their jobs.
Energy experts said the worst is yet to come, warning that Nigeria's fuel and hydroelectric generators are in disrepair and need to be immediately replaced.
In short, the entire power grid in Africa's energy giant is on the brink of collapse.
''The government knows what the problem is,'' said Aret Adams, a Nigerian energy consultant and former senior government adviser. ''Its just a matter of fixing it -- and I'm surprised they haven't done it yet.''
The power outage is seen by many Nigerians as another reason to grumble that their new democracy, which was elected last year following the military's 15 years in power, is not moving fast enough to improve lives.
Although this West African country of 110 million is the world's sixth largest oil exporter, the wealth is unevenly distributed and essential services are poor.
Nigeria has busy freeways and nearly a dozen airlines linking its bustling, cosmopolitan cities -- but it is also a country of mud huts, donkey carts and dugout canoes.
Many former military officials illegally enriched themselves with government revenues while the vast majority of Nigerians lived in poverty without even basic services. Most government and aid officials say the gulf between rich and poor fuels existing ethnic, religious and regional tensions that frequently flare into violence.
Recently, thousands of people were killed in a chain-reaction of Muslim-Christian killings sparked by proposals to implement Islamic law, or sharia, in some northern states.
And while Obasanjo has made a priority of eliminating corruption and spreading development, so far these goals have been impeded by bureaucratic wrangling in national and state legislatures.
''Full measures become half measures by the time they go through the National Assembly,'' Adams said. ''And half measures will not help Nigeria.''
Many Nigerians complain the latest power outages are evidence of the government's inability to act decisively.
In the capital, Abuja, even the grand hallways and meeting chambers of the National Assembly have been dark during much of the blackout. Meetings were postponed or canceled.
A NEPA spokesman said Monday the company had received inadequate funding over the years to maintain its plants, warning that power failures were likely to persist until a major overhaul was done.
The government asked legislators to approve $120 million for new thermal stations, radio stations reported Tuesday.
-- Lee Maloney (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 15, 2000.