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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Power outage: Ogun residents storm IBEDC office with lanterns

The residents of Ijako-Ishaka, Sango, in the Ado/Odo Ota Local Government Area, Ogun State, stormed the office of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company on Wednesday to protest against poor power supply to the community.
The protesters, some of who held lanterns, said they had endured two years of power outage in the neighbourhood while commercial activities had been crippled.
They lamented that they hardly get 24 hours of
power supply in a month, but had to pay between N4,000 and N7,000 bills monthly.
Displaying placards with inscriptions such as, ‘Say no to irregular power and overbilling,’ ‘Restore our  electricity in Ijako-Ishaka,’ ‘We can’t continue like this, serve us better or get flushed out,’ the residents marched to the IBEDC office in Joju Sango, to register their discomfort.
A resident, Abiodun Odugbemi, a welder, said the power failure had made him to abandon his appliances at home as he could not afford the cost of fueling his generator.
He said, “As a welder, the money I spend on diesel to do customers’ jobs is crazy. In the end, I hardly make any gain. We have been in this situation for more than two years.
“When the company learnt that we wanted to protest, there was electricity on Monday for about two hours. That was why we felt the power outage was intentional.”
A trader, Mrs. Joke Ojelabi of Taofiq Olaleye Street, lamented that the situation was telling on the upkeep of her family.
“I sell drinks. This is the third year we have been facing this problem, whereas the least bill I get per month is N5,000. I buy ice in the Tollgate area, a neighbouring community, to make the drinks cold. This is what I use to cater to my children. By the time I buy ice, there is little or no profit left,” she added.
Chistiana Damisa, who sold frozen foods, told PUNCH Metro that she quit the business two years ago after some poultry products estimated at thousands of naira, got spoilt because there was no electricity to refrigerate them.
Another resident, Mrs. Taiwo Taofiq, said, “Before Monday when we had electricity for two hours, I can’t remember the last time my fan worked for an hour. In December, 2016, my neighbour’s four-year-old daughter, Ada, was rushed to a hospital, where she died. The doctor that attended to her said too much heat caused her death. Personally, excess heat makes me to purge. We are tired.”
Lamenting that residents contributed to do electrical installations in the community, the Vice-Chairman, Orisunmibare Community Development Association, Akande Tokunbo, said the erratic power supply had forced him to take up a menial job.
“I was a welder, but now I have become a labourer because there is no electricity to work with. I have children in a university and secondary schools. We buy transformers, wires, poles and everything; IBEDC is useless. Its officials say our houses are not captured in the national grid mapping, yet they bring bills and collect money from us,” Tokunbo added.
The Youths Leader, Ifesokan Community Development Association in Ishaka, identified simply as Waheed, said the power outage was turning the community into “a ghost town,” adding that residents were packing out in droves.
He said, “We have written letters to the company. They have invited us to meetings and promised to solve the problem. They also promised to give us prepaid meters, but failed. We are urging the government to come to our aid. Robbers are cashing in on the blackout to attack us.”
Our correspondent, who attempted to get a reaction of IBEDC, was denied entrance into the office.
One of the community elders, Mr. Kayode Akande, who met with some of the IBEDC officials, said one Tunji, who worked with the company, promised to hold a meeting with residents.
“They collected the phone numbers of seven of us and promised to call us for a meeting. But the date has not been fixed,” he said.
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