Stories: Anthony Awunor
Residents in communities around the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos protested over erratic power supply to their area by the Ikeja Electric Company Limited. The protest carried out recently under the auspices of Ajamogun Onokotun Community Development Association was to express their disenchantment over prolonged power outage leading to loss of millions of Naira for those engaged in logistic business.
The community association including some logistics operators which service airlines, cargo companies, travel agencies and other ancillary service providers around the Lagos Airport said incessant power supply to the area is having adverse effects on their businesses. They said if Ikeja Electric Company Limited does not fix the problem youths in the area who run small scale businesses such as barbing salons, cyber cafés and business centres may take take to crime as the continued absence of power supply in the area is hugely affecting their lives.
Speaking in an interview, the chairman of the community association, Mr Wale Akinyemi said four streets in the Ewutuntun , Beesam and Mafoluku area of Oshodi Local Development Area ( LCDA), had been subjected to perpetual darkness with the attendant effects on their lives. He said the power supply situation in the environment has become unbearable despite failed attempts by officials of Ikeja Electric Company Limited to fix the problem. This is after they collected hidden charges from residents.
He said the association is getting worried that until a new transformer is provided for the community, epileptic power supply may linger. Akinyemi said the community decided to visit the managing director of Ikeja Electric Company Limited to draw his attention to the situation. He said the community is getting worried that the transformer serving the community which was installed in 1980 has collapsed. Akinyemi therefore called for the immediate replacement of a new transformer with appropriate capacity to serve the number of residents .
He added that low and high tension service cables in the area were dangling dangerously across the street with its attendant threat to lives and property. He said: “We are hoping that our appeal would be given accelerated attention to save further the deteriorating situation. Moreover, it has taken the community much effort to restrain the youths in the area from taking the laws into their hands to protest the situation. We would continue to prevail on them for understanding hoping that the matter would act urgently to forestall any untoward action from the youths as a result of continuous power outage.”
He further said: “We have been in perpetual darkness for almost 30 days while adjoining communities and streets are enjoying almost constant power supply . The consequences of this power failure can only be imagined as it has affected our lives and families negatively in many respects . Our community has in the past been subjected to a series of such power outages which would last for days or weeks before succour would come . In most cases , the community has been taxed various amount of money by officials of Ikeja PHCN to fix the problem.
However, in these cases , as soon as the faults were rectified the same problem would resurface. We have been in this constant repairs and faults and hidden charges as well as taxes for a week for a very long time now and we are now frustrated and disillusioned and cannot take it any longer.
The last straw now happened over three weeks when the transformer was blown.” In a swift reaction, at the headquarters of Ikeja Electric Company Limited, the head of communication and strategy, Mr Ayeni Akinola, who stood in for the managing director promised to look into their complaint. He said the company will seek immediate solutions to the problem by ensuring that the transformer that is faulty and other sore points are addressed. Some of the youths were however manhandled by heavily armed security personnel at the entrance of the company.