Some residents of Arepo community in Ogun State, under the auspices of Journalists Estate Residents Development Association, on Moday stormed the office of the Ikeja Electric (IE) in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, protesting against alleged five-month power cut and outrageous billing in the area.
The residents barricaded the main entrance of the IE office for several hours, displaying placards with inscriptions such as ‘No billing without light,’ ‘Fashola must sack IE,’ and ‘Restore our light,” among others.
The Chairman of the Journalists Estate Residents Development Association, Mr. Nosiru Salau, said the entire Arepo Community had been without electricity for months, adding that despite the IE’s “gross inefficiency”, it was fond of bringing outrageous bills.
He said, “We bought a new transformer with our money, but the IE refused to energise it because we declined to give the workers money to buy some accessories.
“The firm is used to bringing crazy bills. We have paid for pre-paid meters close to three years now, but the IE has not brought the meters. We cannot continue to be in darkness. We are calling on the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to intervene.”
He vowed that the protest would continue until the management of the IE develop a listening ear, adding that further steps would be taken if their demands were not attended to.
The Secretary of Arepo Residents Association, Mr. Friday Irabor, said the IE usually would not provide electricity to the estates in the area until the end of every month when it would supply electricity for an hour and give an estimated bill of N36,000 per resident.
A resident, Mr. Demola Bidmus, said the residents decided to stage the protest in order to demonstrate their seriousness about the issue on the ground.
He said, “We are calling on Fashola to do something because he is the one in charge. We cannot continue to live in darkness and still pay bills.”
A businessman, Mr. Kuti Odukunle, said companies in the area had been spending close to N300,000 monthly to fuel their generators.
“We want them to put pre-paid meters in all the houses in the community so that we will be able to pay as we use,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria also reports that the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Anthony Woudea, stated that the IE had noted that the residents were not satisfied with its services.
He said the management of the company would visit the community to find solution to electricity challenges in the area.