· Heat stroke, meningitis fears heighten
· This is hell – Residents
From Our Correspondents
Residents of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, are groaning over the unbearable heatwave sweeping through the territory, with epileptic power supply and scarcity of fuel further compounds an already difficult situation.
Nigeria has in the past weeks, experienced one of its fiercest fuel scarcity caused by the importation of adulterated petrol into the country. The situation has left many fuel pumps dry, with only a few filling stations running below capacity as government tries to restore seamless fuel circulation.
The situation bites even harder in the FCT where electricity supply has been epileptic and residents can no longer afford to power their generators due to long queues and exorbitant price of petrol in the black market.
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, had explained that the persistent poor power supply was due to the low generation currently experienced nationwide.
A message on the official Facebook page of the company on Friday, March 4, 2022, stated, “We are aware that the instability of electricity supply has persisted. This is still due to the low generation currently experienced nationwide. We apologize and appeal for your continued understanding as all stakeholders are working hard to stabilize the system.”
Earlier in February, AEDC had in a message to customers explained that the interruption was due to poor supply from the national grid.
“Dear Customer, please note that the interruptions of electricity supply you are currently experiencing is due to the instability of supply from the National Grid due to low Generation.”
Despite this instability, daily load allocation to Abuja fluctuates around 400 megawatts in the first week of March, a figure not much different from daily allocations transmitted to the territory in January and February.
Though parts of Abuja have experienced light rains in the past few days, the relief is only momentary as the temperature changes almost immediately.
A cross section of FCT residents, who spoke to our correspondents, expressed displeasure over what they described as “untold hardship.”
According to them, the scarcity of premium motor spirit, PMS, and the epileptic power supply has change the situation of living, especially as the heat period is at its peak.
Some residents interviewed at saint John Catholic Church, Nyanya area D, say they find it difficult to sleep at night due to the intolerable weather condition.
A resident in the area, Nathaniel peter said “things are getting worse every day in this country. I think there is conspiracy somewhere, if not how could one explains this ‘double edge sword’. No fuel, no light, and the weather is hot. I don’t sleep well at night because of the hot weather.
“Yesterday I went to NNPC filling station, the petrol attendant refused to sell to us in gallons and so I couldn’t power my generator and my children could not sleep due to the heat. It is not funny at all.”
Another resident, Esther Godiya, said the power supply in her area has been epileptic in the past two weeks,
“We don’t have light in Nyanya Area F. It is not easy for us. Besides the heat, prices of all perishable commodities has gone up due to the scarcity of fuel. You suffer struggling to get your daily bread, after the day hustling, you came home, yet no light for you to have a good night rest.”
For Charity Solomon, a resident of Lokogoma Dogongada, the heat is unbearable with lack of electricity to add to it. “It would have been easy if I could leave my windows or door open but the thought of that is terrifying as our area is not secured. Thieves are always disturbing us. The last incident was when a lady in my area left her door open. She slept off and by morning her phones and other valuables were gone.”
A health personnel on duty at the Area F Primary Health Care at Nyanya, spoke with one of our correspondents on efforts made in creating awareness as the hot weather persists.
A matron nurse at the center, Grace Ajah, said, “we are doing our best. We always provide our patients with the necessary health tips, especially in this period of heat. For instance, we always advise them to ensure their living rooms and bedrooms are properly ventilated to allow enough breeze into the rooms to prevent diseases associated with hot weather.”
In her response to the heatwave currently experienced by Nigerians, a medical expert at Solomon Daushep Lar Memorial Hospital, Plateau State, Dr. Obinwa Uchechukwu, explained that heat wave occurs as a result of increased atmospheric pressure over a particular region, “causing the air at the upper level to go down to the ground, getting trapped and heated up as a result of the high temperature.”
According to her, medically this could cause severe dehydration, leading to heat exhaustion that could manifest as dizziness, headaches, fainting, fatigue, and cramps.
Dr. Uchechukwu further revealed that heatwave could also lead to heat stroke causing enhancement in the transmission of some diseases like airborne diseases especially in places with poor ventilation.
She adds, “Heat rashes and swollen feet are also part of what heatwave could cause and as well, poor air quality could trigger various respiratory and cardiovascular diseases to humans.”
The unbearable heatwave may not be abating anytime soon as the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NiMet, in its Seasonal Climate Prediction, SCP, for 2022, said temperature forecasts for the hot season would span from January to April 2022.
According to the 2022 SCP, rainfall is expected to commence between April and May in the central states, and eventually within June to July in the northern states.
On temperature across the country, the agency predicted daytime and night-time temperature for the months of January to April, from which the country is projected to expect warmer January, cooler days in February over the North but warmer nights over the South.
It further predicted warmer days over the North and cooler nights around the South for the month of March, while April is forecasted to experience warmer daytime temperatures and cooler than long-term average night-time temperatures.
Prediction on the hot season, also comes with an advisory for malaria and meningitis vigilance.