By Jimoh Babatunde
Elders and opinion leaders in Olusosun area in Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday, had hectic time preventing youths that had mobilised to storm the head office of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company to protest the unavailability of electricity in their area since October 4.
The residents of Olorunfunmi, Anisere, Oladejo and Odunukan streets accused Ikeja Electric of taking their transformer away under the guise of servicing it, only to come back with a report that it has packed up.
Before they were stopped, the youth had prepared several placards with varied inscriptions such as “IKEDC: We say no to darkness, we want our transformer,” “Stop IKEDC trick,” Lagos Governor, come to our rescue,” “We are tired of buying fuel every day, IKEDC stop disrupting our businesses,” “FG save our businesses, give us our transformer,” “Uninterrupted power supply is an illusion under IKEDC,” among others.
The protesters complained that with the power situation in the community, businesses have been disrupted and families need to spend extra money to fuel their generators for the basic things of life.
One of the youth leaders, Demola Dare, said: “On October 4, Ikeja Electricity shut down our transformer without informing anybody; at the time the transformer had no fault. We went to the Oregun office to inform them and they promised that after the technical team from the Radio Bus Stop office is done with the servicing, they would return it.
“On October 8, they returned it and we called the Oregun undertaking office that the transformer has been returned for them to reconnect us to the grid, but they said another team is coming to test the transformer before they would power it.
“We waited and a team came from Ogba Station to carry the transformer away again on October 10. It will interest you to know that between October 8 and 10 five different teams came to test the transformer before finally taking it away.
“At about 7p.m. on the day the transformer was taken away finally, one of the workers from Ikeja Electricity came around to take away the cables and reader before we confronted him.
“He claimed that one of his bosses in the office asked him to bring them. We had to call the said boss, who refused to tell us his name and that was how we did not allow them to go away with our cables.”
Dare added that since then they had gone to the Undertaking Office in Oregun and the Customer Service office also in Oregun to complain about the refusal of the technical team to return their transformer.
His words: “It was then we were told that the coil is spoilt and that we need to apply for another transformer which will take up to three months or more to get.
“The question they have failed to answer is what really happened to the transformer because nothing was wrong with it before the said proposed service?”
Another youth, Olajide Ojo, said Ikeja Electric had done the same about three years ago when they took the community’s transformer away under questionable circumstance.
According to him, “we need our transformer and pending when that will be done, they should connect us back to other transformers in the area.”
The youth lamented that IKEDC lacked efficient customer service, and were only interested in forcing people to pay their “outrageous” electricity bills or be disconnected.
All efforts to speak with the Undertaking Manager at Oregun failed, as well as Mr. Ayeni Akinola and Felix Ofulue of the Communications Unit of the Ikeja Electricity, Alausa.
Calls put across to them were not answered.