Universities without electricity: Nigeria’s contribution to 21st Century knowledge, by Owei Lakemfa


Nigeria’s Universities Grapple with Power Outages Amidst Academic Pursuits

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In June 2024, a festive atmosphere enveloped the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) as it bid farewell to outgoing Vice Chancellor Professor Abd-Rasheed Na’Allah. Amidst the celebrations, however, a stark reality loomed: students, burdened by a daily N500 fee to charge their phones due to a prolonged blackout, voiced their frustrations. This blackout was not an isolated incident but a recurring challenge that has cast shadows over the institution’s reputation as Nigeria’s model university.

Similar scenes unfold across other Nigerian universities. At the University of Benin (UNIBEN), students recently took to the streets, blocking major highways in protest against weeks of electricity cuts that left them unable to study ahead of exams. The Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) faced its own crisis, with faculty members petitioning for reliable electricity, citing the impossibility of operating under current conditions.

Even institutions renowned for their healthcare services, like the University College Hospital, Ibadan (UCH), face dire consequences. Despite its accolades as a flagship tertiary healthcare provider, UCH found itself disconnected from the grid by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company due to unpaid bills amounting to N400 million. Such disruptions jeopardize critical operations, including surgeries and patient care.

The challenges extend beyond public universities; private institutions like the American University of Nigeria (AUN) have also grappled with power cuts, prompting student protests and administrative concessions to mitigate the impact on academic activities.

The issue of electricity is not merely an inconvenience but a fundamental impediment to Nigeria’s educational and developmental aspirations. Universities, essential for fostering knowledge and innovation, cannot fulfill their mandates without reliable power supply. Suggestions abound, from government intervention to innovative tariff structures, yet viable solutions remain elusive amidst bureaucratic inertia and financial constraints.

As Nigerians, we must confront these challenges collectively, setting aside blame in favor of proactive measures. Ensuring consistent electricity supply to our educational institutions isn’t just a matter of convenience; it’s a prerequisite for nurturing the next generation of leaders and innovators.

In the words of Nigeria’s national anthem, “Nigeria, we hail thee,” but without sustainable electricity, our universities — the bastions of knowledge — struggle to shine as beacons of hope and progress. It’s time to illuminate their path forward, ensuring they can thrive and contribute meaningfully to our nation’s future.

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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