Nigeria has cut its electricity supply to Niger after West African neighbors imposed sanctions on the junta that ousted the country’s elected leader last week, a Niger power company source said on Wednesday.
“Since yesterday, Nigeria has disconnected the high-voltage line transporting electricity to Niger”, the source at Niger’s power company Nigelec said on Wednesday.
Niger depends on Nigeria for 70 percent of its power, buying it from the Nigerian company Mainstream, according to Nigelec, the country’s monopoly supplier.
The electricity is generated by the Kainji Dam in Nigeria.
The capital Niamey has a local production source, but many districts suffered from frequent power cuts even before the coup.
Niger is hoping to achieve energy independence by building the Kandadji Dam on the Niger River, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) upstream from Niamey.
It is scheduled for completion in 2025, with a targeted annual capacity of 629 gigawatt-hours (GWh).
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, frequently ranking at the bottom of the UN’s Human Development Index, a benchmark of prosperity.
“The sanctions will hurt our country very much,” Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou said on Sunday on the French TV channel France24.
On Sunday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, imposed sanctions on Niger following a military coup that toppled President-elect Mohamed Bazoum a week ago.
In addition to a one-week ultimatum to restore constitutional order and the suspension of financial transactions with Niger, ECOWAS decreed the freezing of “all service transactions, including energy transactions”.
However Russia on Wednesday cautioned against military intervention by ECOWAS in Niger.
Spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said Moscow considers it essential to “prevent a new degradation” of the situation in the country.
“We think that the threat of the use of force against a sovereign state will not help to defuse tensions and resolve the situation in the country”, she said.
Meanwhile, the M62 opposition movement has asked the Coup Leaders in Niger to hold European Nationals hostages as a bargain to force the foreigners to Leave the Country.