Lagos community cries out after seven months in darkness
Residents, under the New Dawn Community Development Association (CDA), community road, Ijegun, Ikotun area of Lagos State have cried out to the management of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) and well-meaning individuals, to prevail on their Okota branch office to restore electricity supply to the area after seven months in darkness.
For now, commercial activities in the area has been paralysed as those who rely on electricity to survive like-welders, barbers, frozen foods vendors and others have been crying in silence.
The Guardian learnt that their predicament started late last year when the New Dawn 1 transformer serving the community packed-off and was taken away by officials of the IKEDC for repair.
The officials later brought another to replace the former one but refused to connect them to the national grid on the excuse that they are indebted to the electricity company.
A resident, Adenopo Adebola, who rued the level of insensitivity of the IKEDC officials to their plight said the residents have used all possible avenues to dialogue with the officials but they have always shunned their overtures.
He added that they signed an undertaking with the officials to pay 30 per cent of the said money but they insisted that all the money owed should be paid before they can restore electricity supply.
Adenopo appealed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to prevail on the officials for the community to enjoy light. “We even taxed ourselves N2, 000 each, owing from house to house like tax collectors, we took the whole money to them but they refused.”
The former CDA Vice Chairman, Mr. Biliaminu Adeniran, who told The Guardian that the last time they had light was on September 24, 2016, said at the initial stage, none of them knew the cause of the problem until they went to the IKEDC branch at Ijegun, where one Mr. Okanlawon, the Undertaking Officer, directed them to see Engr. Dele Awodele at their Okota office.
“We went there with seven elderly people for three times, he refused to see us. We came back to Ijegun office and insisted on knowing the problem; it was then the Marketing Officer told us we owe them N10m. We summoned all the landlords and asked for their bills, they have all paid according to what they consumed. Despite these and all our plea, we remained in darkness. We noticed that IKEDC purposely wanted to punish us through Engr. Awodele.
“For seven months now, we have been in darkness. To make the matter worse, they have continued to give us crazy bills. We are appealing to them to restore our light, if they do so, we will pay the said debt because it will be difficult to pay for light when we are living in darkness,” he said.
When The Guardian contacted Awodele on phone, he disclosed that the policy of the company is that whenever there is replacement of any faulty transformer, the affected community should pay certain percentage of their bills to energise their transformer.
“Many communities have complied but they are not willing to do so, contrary to our policy. The said money is a fraction of what they are owing before the transformer was out, it’s just to pay on their bills what they are owing.”