Lakwalak Lights Up

 

The sleepy village of Lakwalak felt like a ghost town. You know people live there but you hardly see any activity. Only the senior citizens and the women are at home. With nothing to do, they are asleep most of the time. The planting period is still far away. It begins around June/July and it lasts only about four months because of the peculiarities of rainfall in the area.

Bored with the lack of activities and confronted with a need to find other streams of income, the youths in the village have migrated to city centres to find jobs. Unfortunately for Lakwalak, the youths who’d only planned to stay in the city only for a while and come back for the planting season get carried away. Bright electric lights in the city turn a brief visit, to a permanent stay. In 2016, things changed for Lakwalak youths after AshakaCem, a subsidiary of Lafarge Africa Plc, signed a community development agreement with its host communities around Maiganga Coal mine in Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State.

As a result of the agreement, the cement company donated, among other facilities, a transformer to the village, connecting Lakwalak and its surrounding communities to the national power grid. Folks in the community describe the electrification as a life-changer. “We are very grateful to Ashaka for bringing electricity to our home,” says Bulus Bature, a youth leader in the Lakwalak community. Bature added: “The company brought us light and borehole. So it feels like we are in the city too. Now we can charge our phones, and do some handiworks on our own without having to migrate to the city. This company is closer to us and has brought us more facilities than the government.” In the end, the once sleepy village no longer waits for the very short farming season to stay awake. The youths now stay at home to keep business alive in the home front and getting other streams of income no longer depends on going out of town. Lakwalak is alive again. .”