…..Accuses EKEDC of total abandonment
By Tony Udemba
Hundreds of residents of Igbede community in the Ojo local government Area of Lagos State, recently staged a well attended mass protest in the area in condemnation of many years of lack of electricity supply in the community by the Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC. The protesters under the auspices of Igbede Residents Association, comprising of landlords and tenants, men and women, youths and the elderly, matched peacefully along the streets,from one end of the thriving community to the major road leading into the community, crying out to governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to urgently come to their rescue.
The group displayed protests cardboard sheets with various messages such as; “ Gov Sanwo-Olu save Igbede community from perennial darkness”, “ Gov Sanwo-Olu come to our rescue”, “Sanwo-Olu repair our roads”, “Enough is enough, EKEDC give us light”, etc, as they marched along peacefully.
Addressing news reporters during the protests, the leader of the group, Mr. Vincent Offordum, graphically recalled the horrific challenges confronting the community for many years, ranging from the total collapse of access roads to the failure of EkEDC to restore electricity in the community, among others. He stated that for the greater part of over 21 years he had lived in the area, residents had resulted to self-help in contributing funds and materials for the maintenance of the roads without any help from the Lagos State and Ojo Local Governments.
He noted that in 2002 / 2003, the community upon the directives from certain government officials paid some funds to the government in order to officially have a file opened in the name of the community at the government Secretariat, Alausa, saying “ a file was opened in the name of the community after making certain payments at Alausa, then government officials promised that the Lagos State will construct our roads. And, on a number of times, government engineers even visited our community to carryout surveys.
This was later to be followed by many years of unending delays and government bureaucracy. Regrettably, many years down the line, from past governments to the present government, nothing has been done. Igbede community has been neglected and abandoned, and left on its own to suffer with no help in sight”. He reminded the Lagos State government that members of the community, as good citizens had never defaulted in the payment of tenanment rates for their buildings and other government levies and taxes. In his words, ” for so many decades now, we have continued to demonstrate our responsibilities as good citizens of the state in the timely payment of tenanment rates for our buildings and levies for our business premises, apart from the payment of other government taxes and rates”.
Speaking further, Offodum, stated that for over 4 years now the community has suffered total electricity blackout in the hands of officials of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC, even when the company continued to collect revenues from them on monthly basis without supplying electricity to the area.
According to him, ” for over 4 years now the Igbede community has been thrown into perennial darkness by the EKEDC, who had refused to restore electricity to the community despite of our several complaints to them. The worst of it is the crazy bills they send to us , and the huge revenues they collect from every in the area on monthly basis, even when electricity was not supplied. For over 4 years now the community has suffered a lot in the hands of EKEDC”. He noted that due to the perennial power outage in the area so many businesses had closed down, and many tenants had relocated to other areas, while some landlords had equally abandoned their buildings and left the community.
He further made a passionate plea to the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to urgently come to their rescue, saying ” I am making a passionate plea to governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as a compassionate and listening leader, to urgently repair Igbede roads and save the community from being caught off from neighbouring communities. Also, I am appealing to the governor to extend necessary infrastructures to the area. I call on the Lagos State governor to compel EKEDC to restore electricity to our community, and to also give us pre-paid meters.We say no to estimated/ crazy bills, even as we will no longer tolerate estimated bills again”.
A resident of the community, Chief Lewis Nwude expressed sadness to the bad roads in the area, saying” it saddens me that our once lively community has descended this low without any passable roads. As responsible citizens we have supported the government during elections, and by paying tenanment rates, and levies. I could remember during the last council elections, the Ojo LGA chairman campaigned here, seeking for our support.
He promised to repair our roads, and we voted massively for him. It’s unfortunate that since he has been in office, nothing has been done to rehabilitate our roads or bring any meaningful development to the area. He added that roads in Igbede had become nightmares, with school children and passengers occasionally been thrown off motorbikes and Keke into gullies, gutters and collapsed sections of the roads”.
Another resident, Kelachi Ugboh, lamented that it was wrong for Eko Electricity Distribution Company to refuse metering them with pre-paid meters, while preferring to send crazy bills to them. According to him, “ every month, EKEDC collects about N7000 to N10,000 from the least household, I mean a room apartment, yet no light will be supplied. This is too bad, and can no longer be acceptable to the residents of this community. Enough is enough”. Commenting on the matter, the leader of the Arewa community in the area, Alhaji Isiaka Haruna, noted that for many years now people living in the area had continued to suffer from lack of electricity supply, collapsed access roads and lack of infrastructures.
“ Our situation is like people who are inside a cage. There’s no end in sight to the issue of bad roads and lack of electricity supply in the Igbede community.”
Another resident, Alhaji Balogun, drew the attention of the Lagos State government and Ojo Local Government, to the long suffering of residents of the area, and called on them not to abandon the community, adding “ I am appealing to Gov.Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the chairman of Ojo LGA not to abandon us, but to come to our rescue. We don’t have electricity supply, we don’t have motorable roads. Igbede community is now caught off from other communities due to bad roads.
A journey of less than 10 minutes from Igbede to Alaba International market, now takes an average of 45 minutes to make due to bad roads”, he bemoaned.
Picture: Some of the residents protesting