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Living in perpetual darkness

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Living in perpetual darkness

A community near the Ibafo-Mowe axis on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway hit the headlines last year for being without power for close to a decade. Despite the fact of being connected to the grid, residents complained that they have not been enjoying seamless power supply and they are often slammed wayward bills by Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBDEC).
Some of the residents last week protested what they called “crazy bills and insensitivity” of IBEDC.
The community popularly referred to as “Second Lagos’’, described IBDEC services as a rip off.
The protesters, who converged on the main road of the community, also proceeded to the IBDEC office with some of the community leaders. They also blocked part of the road, causing traffic snarl.
The placard-carrying protesters, who had assembled as early as 7.03 a.m., asked IBDEC to redress the issues raised. Among the demands was that IBEDC install prepaid meters in their homes. Some of the placards read: “IBDEC, our Mumu don do’’ Fashola, IBDEC stop these crazy bills; Extortion from IBDEC must stop; IBDEC no more extortion: Enough is enough’’.
According to some elders, who joined the protest march, several complaints made to IBDEC in the past, were ignored.
A Councillor representing Magboro/Arepo Constituency, Ayodeji Abiodun, said that the IBDEC was insensitive to the plight of the community.
“As a councillor representing the community, about two days ago, I called the community stakeholders meeting and everybody expressed his mind.
“After the meeting, IBDEC promised to look into the request within a short period. Nevertheless, there is no crime in people expressing their grievances with a peaceful protest.
“The protest has been peaceful so far because Magboro residents are law abiding people,’’ he said.
Another resident, Mr Babatunde Adesanya, said IBDEC had not shown enough commitment to managing power related problems in the community after several appeals.
“The power issue with our area has been erratic. We don’t understand them. We are the ones who provided the entire infrastructure to IBDEC.
“We bought everything for them, yet they failed to maintain the infrastructure. Whenever there is a problem on the transformer, they will compel us to mobilise them.
“If we did not give them money, they will not come for any repair. We have made many representation to them, but to no avail. Hence, we need to go to the next level,’’ he said.
Mr Yinka Ogungbemi, chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA) said that IBDEC forced them to part with their investments on the power supply.
“IBDEC forced us to sign a letter that that equipment we bought would be a voluntary donation without any compensation. But after that, what we got in return are crazy bills.
“They have been treating us badly. We pick bills from their office by ourselves.
“They don’t distribute bills and the billing system is not right. Sometimes, we pay as much as N10,000 per month over power supply that is not up to an average of two- hours a day.
“We invested over N500 million to ensure that we have power supply, buying transformers, cables, electric poles,’’ he said.
Engineer Bayo Shobaloju, the Area Manager of IBDEC in Sagamu, in a telephone chat, told NAN that the company would address the grievances.
Also the Public Affairs Manager of IBDEC, Ibadan, Mrs Angela Olanrewaju, said although some of the demands of the community might be unrealistic, IBDEC would address the problems raised soon.
“We cannot supply 24 hours light. If we have the capacity, we will do that. We are a consumer friendly organisation. We have listened to their grievances and we expect that all the issues raised will be attended to very soon. Some of the request may take time to address,’’ she said.

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