By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – Tension is gradually brewing in Ihima, Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi state over the decision by the community to suspend forthwith, the payment of electricity bills pending an improvement in supply and stoppage of alleged unwholesome practices by officials of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company AEDC in Okene.
The community had through its umbrella body, the Ihima Welfare Association IWA written the AEDC asking for the supply of prepaid metres to curb the company’s resort to estimated billing which the community views as a corporate attempt to rip its residents off.
The letter which was dated May 11, 2019 was signed by the IWA Chairman, Lahaji Abdulmalik Sheidu and Secretary, Mallam Musa Nasiru Adaviruku.
“As the Apex body that looks into the welfare of people of Ihima District, Okehi Local Government Area, it has become imperative and as a matter of public importance that we forward this letter to your office so as to avoid crisis between your Staff and the entire Community in lieu of inflated electricity bills. This could trigger rift consequent upon the relative peace witnessed across the length and breath of Ihima township”, the community stated.
The letter further reads; “Foremost, October last year, people/houses were billed as high as N14,000. N15,000 and N22,000 respectively and the entire populace cried out for possible remedy or reversal. Your office tagged those bills as Crazy/Abnormal reading better still Wrong Estimation upon which we resolved at a round table that our people should pay whatever they paid previously. Surprisingly, same bill reincarnated, thus, it was referred to as outstanding arrears by your office. Presently, some houses are billed N6,000, N7,000 and above N9,000”.
The community said it can not afford to pay for what it did not consume for any reason whatsoever.
“Most irritating was when vandals criminally tampered with power-line that we had to experience power outage for more than eight months in year 2016; your men still sum up bills for those months as arrears for consumers in Ihima.
“Also worrisome is that we maintain same power line under one Disco with our neighbours in Aduge and Ogale communities. They pay between N1,500 and N2,000 monthly per house while ours is different. This calls for explanation from AEDC. We held several meetings with AEDC but they were all in vain.
Conclusively, we brought the below options before you for a choice to be made:
“We demand some explanations from AEDC as to the aforementioned, to know whether we are no longer Nigerians.
“That we want AEDC to supply Pre-Paid Metres to all prospective consumers so as to serve as corrective measures against all odds of the past.
“That a flat/fixed rate of N1,500 or N2,000 per house be adopted as it is in Aduge and Ogale.
“If at all none of the above can be agreed upon, we resolve that you use your good offices to cut us from the National Grid while we remain in black-out for as long this issue will be resolved.
“We advise your office, on a worrisome note, that AEDC should stop/suspend disconnection or bill distribution throughout Ihima District pending the outcome of this complaint as we can not guarantee the security of same”.
On Tuesday however, AEDC officials were reported to have invaded the town with men of the Nigerian Army and personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC and disconnected all the transformers in the town.
When contacted, AEDC’s Head of Corporate Communication, Mr Oyebode Fadipe promised to get more details about the issue and revert to our correspondent. As at press time on Tuesday, he was yet to get back to our correspondent.