Residents of Oduntan Street in Ketu area of Lagos on Monday stormed the Ikeja District Electricity Company (IKEDC)’s office to protest total blackout in the community, as well as what they termed crazy billing for services not enjoyed by them.
The protesters, numbering about 2,000, called for urgent intervention of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, in what they described as inhuman treatment by IKEDC, saying its staff kept bringing estimated bills despite their having been in total blackout for over five months.
This was just as they lamented that they were yet to be supplied with prepaid meters almost two years after they put in their application for the equipment, despite several promises made to them by the electricity company.
The protesters bore placards of varying inscriptions such as: “Restore our light in Oduntan,” “We want prepaid meters now,” “Say no to billing without light,” “Fashola, call IKEDC to order,” “Buhari, this is not the change we voted for,” among others.
A resident, Mr. Ayo Badmus, 72, while speaking with newsmen, lamented that the residents were tired of receiving ‘crazy’ bills from the company.
He accused the IKEDC of deliberately exploiting them through the distribution of ‘crazy bills,’ even when they could hardly boast of two hours of electricity supply in a month.
“We are rejecting their bills. At a time when people manage to survive, the IKEDC keeps bringing ‘crazy’ bills. Worse still, they are bringing these bills when we cannot boast of 30 minutes of power supply daily. This is unfair, inhuman and insensitive at this time when the economy is nose-diving. We can’t continue like this,” he said.
Also speaking on behalf of the protesting residents, another resident, who simply identified himself as Ade, said that the entire Oduntan Community had been without light for months, adding that despite IKEDC’s gross inefficiency, they were fond of bringing crazy bills.
“Why will some streets have light and we will not? This is injustice, because we pay bills regularly as others. It’s disheartening that the bills the IKEDC is bringing do not correspond with the power supply in the area.
“We are also not happy with the estimated bills in spite of the blackout. We want Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to intervene,” he said.
He vowed that the protest would continue until the management of IKEDC would give a listening ear, even as he said further steps would be taken if their demands were not attended to