For thirty years the streets of communities in Monrovia and its suburb have been emptied in a furious hurry at nightfall. Under the cover of relentless darkness, criminals and armed robbers would attack residents trying to commute to their dwelling places, rob them of their belongings and leave many of them fatally wounded. Not too many residents would venture out during the night time.
When President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power in 2005 she made an inaugural promise of “small lights today, big lights tomorrow.” Following the emergency phase of the Liberia Electricity Rehabilitation programme, government and its international partners have succeeded in restoring sustainable and cheaper means of generating electricity. Currently, the Liberia Electricity Corporation has a thermal generation capacity of 38 megawatts while the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant has reached its full capacity of 88 megawatts. As part of the LEC’s strategic goal, management has launched an ambitious project to install streetlights in a bid to improve visibility and make our communities safer. The campaign to improve visibility and prevent crime on the main streets of Monrovia and its suburb was launched last week by the LEC. The campaign is aim at installing 500 new Streetlights and repair existing ones throughout the LEC network. During the inspection of the project Saturday night, Managing Director Ernest Hughes said improved street lighting will not only improve visibility and prevent crimes on our streets and communities but would also increase pedestrians and traffic safety. Mr. Hughes said the project is also in support of the ongoing efforts by the Liberia National Police to install CCTV cameras on the streets to improve security. “We are complimenting the ensuing project by the LNP to install closed circuit cameras on the streets of Monrovia to improve security. We are cognizant that the cameras won’t function effectively if they are installed on dark streets. We are working to ensure that this project achieve its targeted goals,” Hughes who recently took over as Managing Director said. He said the campaign is in fulfillment of the Corporation’s mandate to increase reliable access to affordable electricity throughout the country. With Mt Coffee generating clean, renewable hydropower with the completion of the four generating units, with the capacity of 88 megawatts, Liberians can now brace themselves for increased supply in electricity with minimum interruption in supply. This campaign is not only aimed at beautifying the principal streets of Monrovia, but it is also targeting improving the livelihoods of people living in shantytowns and slump communities. This is a major step in our post conflict recovery drive. With electricity being the linchpin of every economy, the management of the LEC is committed to ensuring that street lights spread to all areas of the network in the quickest, most prudent and sustainable manner. The corporation is cognizant that with improved street lighting, businesses would remain open for longer time. School going kids can study their lessons during the night hours. This drive will improved peoples’ livelihood and help in the reduction of traffic and motor accidents. Drivers of vehicles and other earth moving equioment will no longer have to drive with high beam at their own risk. MD Huges is very hopeful that the installations of new streetlights and the refurbishing of damaged ones will improve visibility and help in the prevention of crimes in various neighborhoods.