Dissatisfied with the services of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (Ikeja Electric), residents of Gowon Estate near Egbeda, a Lagos suburb, have called on the Federal Government to withdraw the licence of the company.
The estate, named after a one-time Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, was thrown into darkness during Christmas and the New Year and in a grimace of disgust, the residents are asking for a sack of the company.
The residents, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, noted that the company’s Akowonjo Business Unit in the area has exhibited gross incompetence and dereliction following its inability to supply electricity in the area for several days.
They claimed that before the coming of the company, the area had enjoyed regular electricity supply and prompt repair of faults against the current situation where the residents are left for months without power supply.
The residents also said that they had suffered untold hardship due to the lingering power outage.
According to the residents, the officials of Akowonjo Business Unit had refused to give power to the estate because virtually all the houses and block of flats have prepaid meters.
Mr Tony Coker told NAN that the entire area had been experiencing epileptic supply for months, particularly during the Christmas and New Year Day celebrations.
“The past year also was nothing exceptional, when residents only had to deal with sometimes three hours of light or at most times had no electricity.
“These acts have left us very angry and so we call for the immediate withdrawal of Ikeja Electric licence and hand same to other companies that are likely to perform better.
“It is sad that we are celebrating the new year without electricity and we are calling on the Federal Government to take over this company and save us from the blackout.
“The officials claim that they do not generate enough revenue from those using prepaid meters and so they prefer to give power to areas without prepaid meters.
“In these areas, they carry out illegal businesses and give them estimated bills,’’ he said.
A trader, Mrs Abigail Enejo, lamented that the frozen seafood in her shop had spoilt because of the incessant power cut.
“I am using the prepaid meter in running my business which I recharge with N10, 000 monthly and still I do not enjoy regular power supply.
“Water has been an issue because of the blackout as residents have been forced to pay more for the delivery of water to their homes.
“Local businesses have also been affected as business owners are having difficult times because of lack of electricity,’’ she said.
Mr Nathaniel Okoro, a former Chairman, Community Development Association (CDA) in the estate, described the situation as terrible, saying “it has never been this bad”.
“They (Ikeja Electric) seem not to care about what the people say about their service delivery posture. We told them that whatever their problems are, we can sit down to find solutions to them.
“We agreed that they will give the minimum of 12 hours of the power supply while the problem is being solved. According to them, their problem is energy theft.
“We also agreed to work with them and get to the place where the problem of energy theft is prevalent and sanitise the system to recover the money for energy theft.’’
Okoro, however, wondered why a company meant to provide citizens with utmost service delivery would continue to exhibit lackadaisical tendencies to its customers.
“They don’t care to work with people to find solutions because they believe that people just have to obey whatever they say,’’ the former CDA chairman said.
He recalled that the residents had in the past protested the persistent blackout slammed on them by the company.
All efforts made by NAN to get the Akowonjo Business Manager to speak on the situation were unsuccessful.
Also, when contacted, the Ikeja Electric’s Head, Corporate Communications, Mr Felix Ofulue, told NAN: “I will get in touch with the Akowonjo Business Unit to know what their problems are.”