On a recent Monday morning, Mathew Bello, popularly known as Matey, switched on the generator that powers his shop in the capital of Kwara State at exactly 9:28am. It sputtered for a second before roaring to life, coughing up clouds of grey smoke in the process.
Inside Bello’s multipurpose shop are places to watch television, play video games, get a haircut and fix a mobile phone. As David, Bello’s apprentice, transferred the shop’s fuse box from the utility grid — which was currently experiencing a blackout — over to the generator, the TVs lit up and hair clippers buzzed to life.
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