By Ebele Orakpo
Ha! Man don suffer for this country oo!” exclaimed a commuter in the CMS-bound bus by name Comfort as the bus crawled through the usual heavy Lagos traffic.
“My sister, you are not the only one. We are all suffering. Is it the unbearable heat, high cost of living, deplorable roads, rogue politicians? Where do I start from? See as people dey sweat like Christmas goats,” complained Iyabo.
“The heat is not peculiar to Nigeria abeg,” retorted Abu. “It’s everywhere. That is the result of the climate change we are experiencing the world over – extreme weather conditions like extreme heat and extreme cold. Unfortunately, we are the cause of that through our activities.”
“Yes, it may be global but other countries’ governments have a way of dealing with it to ameliorate the effects on the people, but not the Nigerian government,” countered Iyabo.
Said Comfort; “My grouse is with the electricity utility company, Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN. They are adding salt to injury. I thought they had repented.” “Repented from red to black or from what to what? I think the correct name is Please Hold Candle, No light,” joked Abel.
Continued Comfort; “Could you believe that they brought our February bill on February 6? What type of nonsense is that?” “We were accusing them of inefficiency and now they are trying to be efficient and you are still not happy. Na wah for Nigerians,” said Ify.
“Over-efficiency dey worry them, period!” said Charles.
“I got mine at about the same time, I think on the 7th of February. I mean, it’s crazy. How can I pay for services not rendered?” asked Iyabo.
“Don’t be melodramatic. They will provide the services,” said Ngozi.
“How did they know the amount of electricity we were going to consume for the month?” asked Comfort, to which Charles replied thus: “The usual outrageous estimated bills. They don’t read metres at all. They just sit in their cosy offices and cook up figures and send to people.
Before you say Jack Robinson, they will come to disconnect you for not paying the bills. Na money dey insult person. Otherwise, I would have installed full solar system and PHCN can go to hell. Make dem no worry. Very soon, people will be so frustrated as to go back to the days of jungle justice where they kill and maim PHCN officials at the slightest provocation.”
Said Comfort; “The most annoying part was that two days after bringing the bills and urging us to pay, there was power outage for almost two weeks. I made a pot of vegetable soup with the little money I had and had to keep warming and re-warming the poor soup until it began to swear for me. We did not have light until about two weeks later.”
Said Iyabo; “Thank God I did not bother to pay. Many people went to complain about the crazy bills and they were told to either pay or have their lines cut. Imagine the insult!”
“No be small insult. A neighbour who lives in a single room was given a bill of N9,000. Our bill jumped from N6,000 to N15,000, meanwhile we hardly stay at home and we make sure we turn off lights when not in use,” said Comfort.
“The only solution is for people to get the pre-paid metres. But they stopped issuing the metres because it became difficult for them to cheat consumers. May God save us in this country,” said Charles.