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Monday, May 27, 2024

How Kano Communities are Left in Darkness Due to Abandoned Constituency Electrification Projects

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Lukman Abdulmalik 
No fewer than 11 communities in 3 Local Government Areas of Kano State are experiencing multiple power cuts and suffer loss of business daily due to failed constituency electrification projects.
Stallion Times reporter Lukman Abdulmalik visited 3 communities in 3 LGAs to check out the real situation of the electricity power cuts. Discovery showed that in 2019, the Kano Ministry of Rural and Community Development awarded a contract for rural electrification at a sum of N124,496,569.87 million disbursed to different contractors to execute projects for the extension of Low Tension (LT) poles, extension of High Tension (HT) poles, Electrification, and Connection of transformers in seven Local Government areas (LGAs).
In Garin Bawa-Sumana in Tudun Wada Local Government Area (LGA). the contract of  N8,577,161.00 million for the electrification project was awarded to Nagajale Integrated Services.
Contract project document for Tudun Wada
The LT poles extension project at Unguwar Yusi community at Durun Ward in Kabo LGA was awarded to Ayulab Dynamic Company at the sum of N3,113,101.00 million.
Contract project document of Kabo LGA
And, in Kakurun and Panisau communities in Ungogo LGA, the LT poles extension for N12,542,500 million was awarded to SOA Alkawari Nig. Ltd.
Contract project document for Ungogo LGA
Findings from this investigation revealed how corrupt practices by contractors, lawmakers, and the state Ministry for Community and Rural Development hampered the execution of rural electrification projects in these communities, leaving residents in the dark without electricity 5 years after the contract was awarded.
The inability to complete the constituency electrification project which was aimed at extending electricity supply to rural communities, and public education institutions and to boost micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), has defeated the intended goal.
Residents suffer from failed Electrification Projects 
Unguwar Yusi village is a small settlement with about 2,000 people. It is about 10 kilometres away from Kabo town which is 64 kilometers from Kano metropolis.
The members of this community have been without electricity for more than a decade, leading to the absence of small-scale producers, supermarkets, and companies.
Wide-range view of Unguwar Yusi village in Kabo LGA. PC: Stallion Times
Stallion Times observed that the daily work and business activities of the residents is dull with close to nothing to do for commerce and trade; people have to travel 10 to 12 kilometer to Kabo town to shop for essential items, buy cold drinks, and charge any device that uses electricity.  
A visit to a social hub (majalisa) where Isah Abdulmajid, 49, is a farmer and a small-scale businessman who sells locally made shoes in the Uguwar Yusi community revealed a tale of the pitiful situation.
He lamented that for over 10 years people in Ungwar Yusi have had no electricity.
Statistically, he said: “The only light we have in this community is the flames from our matches or phone torch light.
“The absence of electricity has caused the youths in our community to migrate to Kabo town to settle businesses such as communication centers, laundry, provisions, and welding.
“People here must have to transport him or herself to Kabo town for N400 and pay N100 to charge their phones.
Isah Abdulmajid, 49, is a farmer and a small-scale businessman in Uguwar Yusi.      PC: Stallion Times
“As I am talking to you now, my phone has been charging in Kabo since yesterday; I will collect it later this evening.
“I repeat the process every 3 days and this has been going on for years now.”
Abdulmajid, who is a small-scale businessman spends roughly N6,000 only every month just to charge his phone, this does not include other costs of several trips to buy essential commodities for his family.
What is left as a sign of electricity in this community are electricity cables hanging between poles to an old unprotected and non functional and decaying transformer on the road in between houses.
Findings revealed that these many scattered cables and poles have been there since 2011; some of them have been stolen or vandalized.
Kabiru Salisu, 62, is the ward head of Unguwar Yusi.
Speaking with him at his residence, he agreed with what Abdulmajid narrated.
He disclosed that: “After the regime of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau (that is 2011) there has not been any form of rural electrification work in our community. 
“We have been in darkness for over 11 years.
“All the cable wires on the poles that were installed have been damaged. 
“In 2019, some unknown men who claimed they were sent by the state government took the only community transformer away. Two months later, they returned another one, which was smaller than the previous one.
Kabiru Salisu, ward head of Unguwar Yusi. PC: Stallion Times
“The unknown men just kept it there without connecting it and left, as it is now, we do not even know if the transformer is in a good working condition. 
“We cannot transact any business that has to do with electricity in this community; to charge phones, people have to take a ride to Kabo town.” 
All this is happening despite the award of the extension of LT poles in Unguwar Yusi community at Durun Ward in Kabo LGA for N3,113,101.00 million to Ayulab Dynamic Concept by the State Ministry for Rural and Community Development. 
A low tension pole (LT Poles) is an electricity line that has an operating voltage of 1000 volts, which is 1 kV. These poles are used in electricity distribution systems to households and small businesses.  
Low-voltage poles are designed to place carriers on the pole and attach conductors to the pole.
The project that was awarded to Ayulab Dyanamic Concept was not executed as of the time of this investigation; it looked abandoned.
The company was registered on 24 July 2013 with registration number 1130855. Its current status is unknown on Ngcheck.com.
However, a discreet investigation revealed that the real beneficial owners (Directors) of the contracting company are Hon. Ayuba Labaran Ayuba, a lawmaker representing Kabo LGA at the state level, Rabiu Alasan, Muhammad Salisu Dugabau, Nura Labaran, are also listed as shareholders with Samira Muhammed as Secretary.
An attempt was made to visit the company based on the address provided on Ng.check.com (No. 543, Kofar Fada Durun Town Kabo LGA, Kano), but the physical address is that of mud houses.
No. 543, Kofar Fada Durun Town Kabo LGA, Kano. PC: Stallion Times

In a telephone conversation in mid-November, Hon. Alasan told Stallion Times that the electrification project in Unguwar Yusi in Kabo LGA was not awarded to the Ayulab Dynamic Concept, even though the was named as the contractor for the project.

He also disclosed that the contractor whose name he did not disclose contracted the Covid-19 virus and died early in 2020, which automatically stopped the issuance of an award letter for the project to Ayulab Dynamic Concept.
Hon. Alasan said: “Usually if the Ministry for Rural and Community Development gives a constituency project contract to a company, it issues an award letter. 
“The contractor sources for funds and executes the project; on completion, the Ministry inspects the project and if it is satisfied with the work done, the contractor will be paid, this normally takes time, as there are some completed projects in my constituency for which the contractors have completed work in the last 3 years but have not yet received payment.” 
The touchy tale of electricity in Tudun Wada LGA 
On 29th October 2023 around 11:15 a.m., Stallion Times visited Garin Bawa-sumana in Tudun Wada LGA, which is 118.4 kilometers away from the Kano metropolis.
The 6-kilometer road linking this community to Tudun Wada town is dotted with busy commerce and trade activities and business communication centers, and commercial ice block sellers using gasoline generators to run their businesses.
The sight and sounds of the Garin Bawa Sumana community were observed to be noisy with commercial activities and generators. This community is known to have housed one of the small-scale rice milling companies. 
Rice millers drying their rice at Garin Bawa-sumana in Tudun Wada LGA.         PC: Stallion Times
Unfortunately, this community does not have an electricity supply from the state or national grid. 
In 2019, to boost the economic and commercial activities of the community, a contract for the electrification project was awarded to Nagajale Integrated Services.
Unfortunately, this community does not have an electricity supply from the state or national grid. 
In 2019, to boost the economic and commercial activities of the community, a contract for the electrification project was awarded to Nagajale Integrated Services.
An investigation conducted by Stallion Times around the community revealed that the N8,577,161.00 million rural electrification project was not executed; it can better be described as abandoned.  
To check it out, Mukthar Abubakar, 54, a respected elder in the community was approached with the issue.
He spoke on behalf of the community leader, Usman Aliyu.
According to Abubakar, since 2019, there has been no form of electrification project in the community.
“The last electrification project executed in the Sumana community was in 2002 when LT and HT poles were planted and transformers installed. 
“Around 2016, it developed a high power surge and since then, we have been without electricity. 
“Most of our businesses halted, and some have suffered, particularly those that require electricity, such as rice milling, charging of devices at communication centers, ice blocks production, and many other businesses that require electricity.
Mukthar Abubakar, an elder of Garin Bawa-sumana community.     PC: Stallion Times
“As we speak, some businesses have relocated to Tudun Wada Town because not all business owners can afford to buy petrol, gas, or diesel to keep their business running daily.”
Abubakar gave an example of rice millers who needed electricity to survive because it makes milling faster and easier than gasoline generators.
It was observed that residents also suffered some form of loss, from a lack of water to living in darkness, especially at night.  
Garin Bawa-sumana Rice Miller Lamented
One of the major rice millers in Garin Bawa-sumana community is Adamu Abdu.
This reporter spotted Abdu using his heavy-duty generator to power his rice milling machines.  
He offered to be interviewed.
Abdu lamented that he spends a huge amount of money on diesel to run his business, which, according to him, is too expensive.
“I have been in this business for over 15 years.
Adamu Abdu, a rice miller in Garin Bawa-sumana of Tudun Wada LGA.       PC: Stallion Times
“For the last 10 years, when there was constant electricity, I used to mill nothing less than 500 bags of rice a day and I hardly spent N15,000 on diesel and paid a monthly electricity bill of N10,000.  
“From 2017 to date, to mill 180 bags of rice in a day, I have to spend nothing less than N100,000 to 150,000 only on diesel due to the high cost of diesel. 
“I am currently struggling to survive in the business because the profit which I don’t want to talk about is very low compared to previous years.
“The lack of electricity is taking a toll on my business to the point that I am finding it difficult to pay my staff.”
The sufferings and lamentations of residents of Garin Bawa-sumana are happening, no thanks to Nagajale Investment Nigeria Ltd who were awarded the contract but never executed the project.
A discrete investigation carried out on the company revealed that it was incorporated on 20th February 2012 with registration number RC 1011370.
The company’s activity on NgCheck.com revealed that it’s General Merchants and Traders, which means a trading company that engages in general trade, whether wholesale or retail, is classified as a small, medium, or large trader. This may be why it could not handle the project.  
Also, the address which is No. 1 Yaryasa Town, Tudun Wada LGA, Kano could not be traced as only mud houses could be spotted at the registered address provided on the website. 
1 Yaryasa Town, Tudun Wada LGA, Kano.   PC: Stallion Times
Electrification Project Fraud in Ungogo
Ungogo is one of the 9 metropolitan LGAs that bubbles with commercial activities, yet, some rural communities lack essential infrastructure like electricity.
In 2019, under the constituency projects of the Kano State Ministry for Community and Rural Development, a contract for the LT poles extension for N12,542,500 million was awarded to SOA Alkawari Nig. Ltd to bring a breath of relief to the Kakurun and Panisau communities in Ungogo LGA.
For Kakurun the project was designed to provide LT poles extension for N6,042,500.00 million while for Panisau, it was to provide an extension of LT poles for N6,500,000.00 million.
Findings from residents of Kakurun village who majorly produce ice blocks in commercial quantities for sale to neighbouring markets say the community has been suffering from power outages for over 5 years.
During a reality check conducted round the village, Abdullahi Nata’ala, an ice block seller, was spotted sitting idle on a prayer mat. He offered to speak to Stallion Times.
Nata’ala lamented that: “The power outage in this community has forced people to abandon their heritage of ice block business.
“For about 4 years now, I have stopped the ice block business because there is no more profit in it, all the profit goes to power generation. 
“Around 2015, when I started the ice block business, there was availability of electricity. I used to have about 12 hours of electricity in a day which allowed me to make over 2000 large cubes of ice blocks in 10 deep freezers.
Abdullahi Nata’ala, an ice block seller in the Kakurun community of Ungogo LGA.    PC: Stallion Times
“In August 2017, during the rainy season, a thunderstorm destroyed pole wires. 
“In 2018, community members parked the debris of the pole wires aside and waited for the government to get them fixed, but to this moment nothing has been done.”
Nata’ala is now idle due to a lack of electricity and the non-execution of the LT pole extension in the Kakurun community.
Similarly, in the Panisau community, households and businesses suffer from power outages, just like in the Kakurun community.
Auwal Sanusi, a welder in Panisau, lamented that he could not afford to fuel his heavy-duty generator for his welding activity due to the high cost of gas.
“Around 2015 to 2018, when we had electricity, my business was moving fine without any challenge. 
“But since 2019 till date, I have been spending a huge amount on gas.
“In a day I spent nothing less than N30,000 naira to power my business. 
“The business is not stable as there are no more customers due to the high cost of products.
“If the poles are fixed and there is electricity my business would have been easygoing in these hard times, but for now, I only count losses.” 
Stallion Times discovered the project for the extension of LT poles in Panisau community awarded to SOA Alkawari Nig Ltd was not executed either.  
Contractor denied involvement in the Contract
On 25th October 2023, Stallion Times visited Sa’ad Lamido Jummare, the Operational Manager of SOA Alkawari Nig Ltd., in Zaria, Kaduna State on the matter. 
Jummare strongly denied being awarded any extension of LT poles in the Kakurun and Panisau communities.  
“Our company does not deal with electrical installations of any kind, we do constructions, supplies of agricultural products, and empowerment.
“The only projects we executed in Kano in 2019 were constructions of classrooms in Bunkure and Bichi LGAs.
“Even after executing the projects to completion, the state government is yet to meet its obligation of paying for the projects. 
“So, the projects for the extension of LT poles in Kakurun and Panisau communities were not part of the projects we handled in Kano. 
“Except the ministry lied or used our company name to siphon funds, but we never have any discussion with the State Ministry for Community and Rural Development on any electrification or extension of LT poles.
“We shall follow up to know why our company appeared on the document.”
As of the time of filling this report Jummare of SOA Alkawari said he is still consulting with his lawyers to seek redress for using his company’s name without his consent.
Today, residents in Garin Bawa-Sumana and Yaryasa, Ungwar Yusi, Panisau, and Kakurun in Jaba in Ungogo, Kabo, and Tudun-wada LGAs respectively, may continue to live in darkness and suffer a loss of business due to corrupt practices in the award of the constituency rural electrification project in their communities.
This publication was supported by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) through Stallion Times under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project (CMEDIA) funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

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