Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Nigeria Runs on Generators and Nine Hours of Power a Day

  • Households spend $12 billion on self-generated power
  • President Buhari’s reform efforts have failed to take hold
A tailor uses a generator for power in Lagos.
A tailor uses a generator for power in Lagos.Photographer: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

Kabir Sabo’s sewing machine hums busily as he hems a “babariga,” a popular dress in northern Nigeria, in his small corner shop on the outskirts of Abuja. It can hardly be heard over the sound of Nigeria’s worst problem.

Sabo’s noisy electricity generator costs him an average of 3,000 naira ($8.30) a day in fuel, he says. That’s the bulk of the roughly 4,000 naira he makes daily.