Students Power On Without Power | God's World News

Students Power On without Power

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    Students of Excellent Moral School attempt to answer a math question on a blackboard inside a dimly lit classroom in Ibadan, Nigeria. (AP/Sunday Alamba)
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    Students of Excellent Moral School attend a lesson in a classroom lit only by windows in Ibadan, Nigeria. (AP/Sunday Alamba)
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    Schools like Excellent Moral operate in dim light due to zero electrical grid access. Students can’t learn how to operate computers or the internet, and they cannot study at night. (AP/Sunday Alamba)
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The classrooms are stuffy. The only light source is sunshine streaming through wooden-framed windows. Students squint at their books and the blackboard. Teachers try to hold their pupils’ attention.

That’s a typical school day for many kids in Nigeria. Often buildings don’t have access to the national electricity grid.

Muyideen Raji is the founder of Excellent Moral School in Olodo Okin, a rural community in the city of Ibadan. No one in Olodo Okin has electricity. Raji laments that pupils can’t learn how to use computers or the internet. They can’t see well enough to study in the evenings.

The logical fix for the sunny country seems to be solar energy. But setting up panels is an expensive task. Major solar projects stalled even though contracts were signed in 2016.

Solar companies in Nigeria face higher costs than those in more wealthy nations. Banks charge high interest rates for loans. That means if one gets a loan to start a solar business, that hopeful entrepreneur must pay back much more than what was borrowed.

The price customers pay for electricity in Nigeria also doesn’t cover the cost to produce and distribute it. Companies that provide electricity rely on government support to survive. But power producers say the government owes them up to $2.7 billion.

Even if more funding came along, the equipment and infrastructure needed to get electricity to customers isn’t in place.

Power outages occur daily. Even schools connected to the national grid often lose power and must rely on gasoline and diesel-run generators. The government once gave out subsidies that reduced the cost of gas. That stopped last year. Prices for fuel are now high.

Abdulhakeem Adedoja is the head of Lorat Nursery and Primary School in Ibadan. Even though his school is connected to the grid, it can go as long as two weeks without a power supply. Fuel costs make using a generator too pricey.

Schools aren’t the only ones impacted. Businesses struggle. Ebunola Akinwale is the owner of Nature’s Treats Café in Ibadan. She pays $1,700 each month to power backup generators in her four branches. She may have to close one or two branches due to expenses.

The minimum wage in Nigeria is about $20 per month. Most people cannot afford generators, much less invest in solar panels.

Pray leaders will have wisdom to know how to tackle Nigeria’s power outages. For now, it’s lights out for many.

By justice a king builds up the land. — Proverbs 29:4