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03.06.2021 Social Justice Ikeja Electric Punishes 400 Customers with Darkness for Protesting against Outrageous Billing

Published 3rd Jun, 2021

By Adeola Oladipupo

Residents and businesses located at Olugbede Market, Orelope Abule-Odu in Egbeda, Lagos, have been subjected to power cut by the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) for over a month for refusing to pay outrageous bills and asking for prepaid meter.

The step-down transformer purchased by the community was disconnected from the grid on April 29 after officials of IKEDC had issued extortionate bills in March, prompting youths and elders of the community to visit IKEDC’s Undertaking Office at Abule-Odu. Their concerns were not addressed.

“It happened on the morning April 29. Fredrick Asiwaju, Abule-Odu Undertaking Office Manager, came with a soldier and his boys to disconnect the light. After that, they brought April bill again. We were on Band C. We did not have light regularly; what was the justification for billing each house N30,000?” asked Gbenga Wahab, a resident of the community.

“The people on prepaid meter and the ones on postpaid were put in darkness. They said we harassed their staff, but that is not true. People only went to their office to have a dialogue with them. The new manager of the Undertaking Office only wants to flex his powers.”

Although the community did not have electricity in the month of April, officials of IKEDC issued bills for that month.

“Now they will bring bill for the month of May. That will be two months of billing us without giving us electricity. Each house will be paying at least N50,000. How much is the house rent in the community to start with? We told them that they can’t be bringing N30,000 to N35,000 every month,” Wahab said.

The distribution company insisted that the bill must be paid before electricity would be restored, a condition residents said was difficult.

“The Abule-Odu Undertaking Office told us that 80 percent of the bill must be paid by 80 percent of the community. Alimosho Undertaking Office, which is in charge of Abule-Odu, said 70 percent of the bill should be paid by 70 percent of the community,” Wahab explained.

“For us to pay that kind of money, they should at least give us light. They can come and disconnect the people who do not pay after the grace period.”

Tunde Ogunsanya, the marketer for Abule-Odu Undertaking Office, told FIJ the community members barricaded his office during a protest. He said their transformer was disconnected because officials were denied access to the community to work, while residents refused to pay current charge.

“The marketer is not telling the truth,” Wahab said. “Let’s assume that we protested and barricaded the office, did we stay there all day? Don’t we have the right to protest? No one prevented them from working and the current charge they asked us to pay is outrageous. This is wickedness.”

Published 3rd Jun, 2021

By Adeola Oladipupo

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