20 June 2018

Nigeria: Lagos Residents Protest Eight Months of Power Outage

Dozens of residents of Surulere, Ogunlowi, and Alagbole communities in the Ojodu Berger area of Lagos Wednesday marched to the head office of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company to protest the unavailability of electricity in their homes since October 2017.

The protesters accused the electricity company of failing to replace their damaged electricity transformer despite the residents fulfilling their condition of paying all outstanding bills which amounted to over ₦3 million.

"Last year, October 14, 2017, precisely, our transformer developed a fault and we came to lodge a complaint," said Arisekola Azeez, a leader in one of the communities.

"We met with Engineer Adumo of Akute station, they sent their technicians but in the process of fixing the transformer, a mistake occurred and this led to the explosion of the transformer. They came to carry the spoilt transformer on October 30.

"However, we were told to pay all outstanding bills before they'd give us another transformer, they also added that their new policy is 1+1 matrix, so anyone owing would pay twice the amount."

Mr Azeez said each house contributed according to what they were owing and more than ₦3 million was paid.

"After payment, we proceeded to Jankara where we were referred to Engineer Ayeni. In April, 2018, they brought a transformer whose power is below the one they carried from us. They gave us a smoking 300KVA transformer but they took a 500KVA transformer."

Aderounmu Nureen, another leader in one of the communities, said the new transformer spoilt the same day it was installed.

"The power of the transformer was too low to serve five communities," Mr Nureen said.

"After two weeks, they fixed the transformer again but it started smoking after only few hours. Since that time, we've not been given transformer. The communities have been in total darkness since October."

The residents carried placards and chanted songs outside the electricity firm's office for almost an hour.

Ayeni Akinola, a staff of the company, who addressed the angry crowd said the issue of damaged transformer ought to be resolved with the firm's business manager.

"Right now, I have called the H.N.O, the Network Operating Officer and he told me that he has made a request for your transformer and has raised the issue to the management.

"For me, I'll do a follow-up and I assure you that as soon as I get inside, I will discuss with the business manager".

When asked why the company had not solved the communities' need for the past nine months, Mr Ayeni replied that, "Not only yourcommunity needs transformer and only few people can repair transformer perfectly. As soon as they finish repairing it, it'll be brought back to you. Work is ongoing and you'll get your transformer."

According to Mr Ayeni, the energy supplied to their customers from the national grid are paid for by the company.

"We pay for every quantrum of electricity we consume on daily basis, therefore, if customers do not pay, we are the ones that pay for it," he said.

"Also, we have a lot of transformers and we give out transformers every week but we have many business units and many areas to cover, so, we are working hard to provide electricity here at Ikeja electricity distributing company."

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