Agony of Egbe residents
By Bose Adebayo
GIVENÂ the perennial problem of inadequate electricityÂ power generation and distribution in the country, complaints of frequent and sometimes longdrawn blackout are usually rife among different communities.
In manyÂ instances, aggrieved residents are pushed to the point of outrage when they have to pay bills for non-supply of electricity at a periodÂ they must have resigned themselves either to living in darkness or relying on the use of their own power generating sets.
This has been the bitter experience of residents that make up the Hostel Community Development Association (Hostel CDA), in Egbe, under the jurisdiction of Egbe-Idimu LCDA in Alimosho part of Lagos. The community comprises Abbey, Okun-ogbe, Samuel Sode, Bola Osifeso, Agbesin, Isolo Road and Rasaki Onimole streets, among others. This part of Egbe, is one of the numerous communities that have suffered electricity problems for many years.
Nearly three months ago, the only transformer serving the Hostel area was stripped bare by persons suspected to be vandals. In fact, six other transformers serving what could amount to nearly half of Egbe town suffered the same fate.
As a result, commercial activities in the area are now at a standstill as many of its artisans have relocated to other parts of the state while those who manage to stay continuously suffered low patronage.
This Vanguard Metro was able to confirm during a recent visit to the area as every indication point to the fact that the development was taking a painful toll on all and sundry.
A battery charger, Ramoni Tijani bemoaned the fate that had befallen him on account of the outage.
â€œItâ€™s like the government has forgotten us here and I donâ€™t think we are part of Lagos State any more. I suffer a lot because generator cannot power the batteries likeÂ electricity. I charge a minimum of N1,000 but customers will prefer to go to areas where they can enjoy electricity.Â In some cases, I take the batteries to far away places,â€ he said.
A salon operator, Mrs Iwelu Comfort told Vanguard Metro thus: â€œWe started operation in June and have not enjoyed electricity since then. I buy fuel of N700 every other day. Customers who want to make use of generator must pay the extra charges of N200.
Many of them would rather pay N20 transport to Ikotun and its environs, where power supply is better, for their hairdo. We have not realised one tenth of the amount invested to open this shop and the year is almost running to an end. We end up running the business at a loss,â€ she complained with bitterness.
Madam Monsurat (not real name), hitherto a salon operator lamented: â€œI opened a big salon here some years back, but I am sad to tell you that I now sell beer as a result of electricity problem in this area. I go as far as Egbeda, Iyana/Ipaja or Jakande Estate to buy ice blocks. Where is the profit and for how long will I do this ? Nigeria was never like this and God will punish whoever is responsible for our predicament,â€ she said.
Chairman of Abbey Street Residents Association, Pa Olujimi Awobokun complained that residents could no longer sleep with their eyes closed, as a result of the many problems that the power outage has caused.
His words:Â â€œWe cannot sleep again as a result of noise from generators. In most cases, robbers hide under this to cause havoc. Some months ago, one of my tenants was a victim of robbery attack. When it happened, none of the occupants of the apartment could shout for help.
Even if they did, nobody would hear them because the noise of generators had taken over everywhere. Such a thing wouldnâ€™t have happened if PHCN has been alive to its responsibilitiesâ€.
He did not stop there. â€œArtisans are running at a loss. We appeal to the state government to come to our aid. We are not living well and many of us are retired people. We want to enjoy the rest of our lives, we donâ€™t want any sudden death in our midst,â€ he pleaded.
In his own reaction, Chairman of the Hostel Community Development Association (Hostel CDA), Pa Oluseyi Ogunnoiki remarked that the vandalisation of the communityâ€™s transformer and removal of the feeder pillar could only have been done by people with the requisite technical know-how.
â€œI am convinced only people with appropriate technical skills could have perpetrated this evil act, not an ordinary thief or vandal.
I also believe it could not have been done without the connivance of others at PHCN. Before someone can tamper with a transformer to the extent of removing and carting away the feeder pillar, he must have known whether there is power on it or not, or somebody must have told him when it is safe to do it.
The illegal job was neatly carried out; it is a risky job and would not have been successful without the connivance of an expert. We therefore call on government to come to our aid in this regard,â€ he said.