Residents of Gowon Estate, near Egbeda, marched out on Monday, 13th of February to protest against the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company over a three-week-old power outage the suffered. They claimed that the reasons for the protest are the blackout and allegedly occasioned indebtedness by military quarters.
The protesters carrying placards that read: “IKEDC, restore our light immediately’’ and “We can’t continue to suffer for the sins of others’’, obstructed operations at the company’s Akowonjo Business Unit, preventing movement in and out of the unit’s premises. Some other placards read; “Stop punishing us because some people owe; this is wickedness’’, “ Restore light to our feeder’’ and “ We cannot suffer because of others’ indebtedness’’.
Mr David Ogunbor, President of the Estates Youth Movement, who led the protest, said:
“This protest is all about Ikeja Electric punishing us because the military quarters in the estate is owing them bills. “Ikeja Electric is punishing the whole estate residents because of a minority. We say no to this. “If people owe, there should be a better way to recover the money and not by punishing us for the sin of other people. “For about three weeks now, there has been no light whereas areas the estate’s environs have
“If people owe, there should be a better way to recover the money and not by punishing us for the sin of other people.
“For about three weeks now, there has been no light whereas areas the estate’s environs have normal supply. We are being punished wrongly.
“Let the company restore our light with immediate effect and find ways of recovering money from its debtors. They can’t do that to the military quarters if civilians were the ones owing. It is not right.’’
Ogunbor also said the residents had contacted Ikeja Electric before hand and were told that power would not be supplied to the area until the military quarters paid. He said the community had suffered a lot following the development, adding that many residents spend huge money on fuel for their electricity generators. According to him, petty businesses have been adversely affected.
A Frank Eke said: “We are being punished for no just cause. How would the military owe and Ikeja Electric disconnects us because we use the same feeder?
“It is unjust. We want our supply restored, I spend about N3, 000 everyday on fuel for three weeks now.
“Spending money on fuel after we have recharged our prepaid meters is bad in this period of recession,’’ Eke said. An elder in the community, Mr Jossy Amodu, said that any issue with the military quarters should not be passed on all residents. He, however, pleaded with the electricity company to settle its issues with those indebted to it and stop punishing other residents. Amodu urged the management of Ikeja Electric to separate the military from the feeder that supplied the entire estate.
Mr Sunday Asha, the Distribution Manager of the company, speaking on behalf of the company, responded saying:
“We have listened to you and we will resolve the issue. We want you to be peaceful and leave while we address the issue.
“We will convey your grievances to our head office and the management will resolve it. We will get back to you. We are always concerned about our customers’ plight’’.