At the Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos, the owners of the mini generators popularly known as ‘I Better Pass My Neighbor’ (IBPMN) react to the news of its ban.

Mini gen  (3 of 1)
Oyeleke: Printer repairer. Credit : tolaOmolayo

The government is just going to encourage smuggling with this so called ban. I will call it nonsense because that is what it is. See what happened with rice, they banned it, did the business stop? No! Instead, the rice business boomed.

This is what the government needs to understand, once there is demand, there will always be supply either by hook or crook. Let me give you another example, when Buhari first assumed power, we had light for at least 18 hours a day in my area, during this period, and hardly would you hear any generator noise. So provide power and don’t come up with senseless talks of banning something that has become a necessity.

Chukuma – sells phone accessories Credit- tolaOmolayo
Chukuma: Phone accessories salesamn
Credit- tolaOmolayo

What are you saying? How will we be able to buy a bigger one? And is it not the same smoke coming out from both? This gen (IBPMN) is cheap and does not consume much fuel. If I buy N400 fuel, it will last me for 8 hours, unlike the bigger one which consumes N500 worth of fuel in less than 2 hours. This gen is powering 3 fans, 4 white bulbs and a TV. There is nothing the government can say that will stop people from buying these gens until they provide power. If it’s about health, then my advice to people is this: Do not keep the generator anywhere near you so that the smoke will not harm you.

Ola – Phone shop attendant Credit: tolaOmolayo
Ola: Phone shop attendant
Credit: tolaOmolayo

Our government has misplaced priorities. We have not had light in Computer Village for over a week now, ask anyone, they will tell you the same. So they are saying that the smoke is dangerous. Are they not also aware that heat is equally dangerous? There are no windows in this shop, and we cannot afford to buy the big generators so how do they want us to cope? Also, apart from the fan and bulbs, there’s really no other need for the light. Customers trickle in and we have to run the gen throughout the day, so we would just be wasting money if we bought a big generator.

There’s no fuel, graduates are unemployed, there’s nothing working in this country and your big solution for everything is banning generators? Let everyone find a solution to their generators- they should service it on time, that way, it will not emit harmful smoke.

Christine- Sells computer accessories Credit: tolaOmolayo
Christine: Sells computer accessories
Credit: tolaOmolayo

Erratic electricity supply has been a consistent challenge since I was born. I think the government should focus more on that. You cannot say you want to ban the affordable generators when you have not provided steady power supply. The amount we use in fueling our generators is way higher than what we make in sales, therefore, they should suspend the ban for now, at least till all Nigerians have stable electricity.

Chief E.O Odinaka- Sells computer accesories Credit: tolaOmolayo
Chief E.O Odinaka: Sells computer accessories
Credit: tolaOmolayo

I understand that the government is placing a ban on these generators because of human health and environmental pollution. If the government is not being shady about this, then they should publish their findings to convince us that this ban is beneficial to the public. If not, I will posit that someone is being bribed somewhere to ban the smaller generators so that more people will be forced to buy the bigger and more expensive ones.  If they do not publish their findings then how can they convince us that the mini gens are more dangerous than the bigger ones?

I do not trust the Nigerian government at all. It is obvious that these generators are more popular at the grassroots. The elite are the owners of the bigger ones, so why do you want to force everyone to start buying the bigger ones under the pretext of air pollution. Is it only the mini generators that pollute the air?

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