Journalism of Courage

Power outage: Gowon Estate residents want FG to revoke Ikeja Electric’s licence

By Edwin Nwachukwu

Lagos, Jan. 1, 2019 (NAN) 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

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

“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 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 sea foods in her
shop had spoilt because of incessant power cut.

“I am using 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 seat down to find solutions to them.

“We agreed that they will give minimum of 12 hours of 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.” (NAN)


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