To residents of Jakande Estate, Isolo in Lagos, five years of continuous epileptic power supply to their community is a mockery and an insult to their persons.
The crisis came to a head last week when youths and able bodied person in the estate headed for the offices of the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company but the move was aborted by the police for security reasons.
Addressing sympathisers and members of the press at the Jakande Estate gate, president of the estate, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Abiodun said their nightmare began when authorities of the IEDC said the only way the problem of Jakande estate can be solved is through load shedding, supposed to be three days on and one day off.
“If they had maintained that agreement we won’t be in this predicament,” Abiodun lamented, pointing out that expansion of the estate environs has resulted in the only cable feeding their community to be overloaded and unable to carry enough power to meet their needs even for the supposed three days on sharing formula.
“When we noticed the problem, we approached IEDC and said see, we are your customers: why can’t you increase the size of this cable? It is a matter of demand and supply and if your demand is high, then improve on your supply by at least changing the cable in question, but they have failed to change it.
“Now, the cable supplying electricity to the estate cannot serve any longer as a result of increase in housing development in the area.”A thoroughly vexed business man, Dare Oshinowo could not imagine a temporary solution to a permanent problem. “So what stops the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company from changing ordinary cables? They claim they are sharing light and they cannot get a new feeder. Bad as the current one is, other areas have been joined to it which makes it to be over loaded. We have met with the station manager who could not even say when a new feeder will be available,” he said angrily.
Oshinowo also complained of favouritism in the shedding of the light. “If it is our turn to have light, it should be for all the residents and not for selected people.”
The placard carrying youths who wrote out a ‘ten-point agenda’ for the power company said among other complaints that they are forced to pay outrageous bills for power not supplied.
“We demand solutions to our 10-points demands which include abolition of estimated billing system; power theft where some people are favoured more than other yet we all pay same bill; provide meters for all the residents in the estate; provide a new transformer that can serve the entire estate and appoint a customer service officer that will identify with problems of customers among others.”
Inscriptions scribbled on their placards include #No more estimated bills, #BringBackOurLight’, #No more estimated bills, #IKEDC is just being unfair and unjust to us, and some others.
A public and resident of the estate, Adeyemi Yusuf, told The Daily Times it has been a sad experience in the estate for many years. “We hardly get electric power supply and it has gotten out off hand, that is why we have to stand up to say no more; our parents are strongly behind us but the police stopped the the mass protest for fear of insecurity.”
Olademeji Rashidi, another protesting youth said they had planned a peaceful protest sbut police fear tht some hoodlums will hijack it so it was cancelled.
“But Jakande estate has been sidelined,” he complained. “We only get power at nights for just one hour on a lucky day and we pay bills every month for power not supplied. I don’t know if we are paying for sun light; it is very annoying that we pay so much and get so little.
“Ikeja Distribution Company said we have low mega watts in the country but our neighbours, Oke Afa estate always get regular power supply: why is our own case different? Or is the mega watts only low in Jakande estate?” Rashidi queried.
Also lamenting her plight,
a frozen food seller, Mrs Chimere Okudu said her business has collapsed because of power outage. “I cannot sell again because of the low power supply in Jakande estate. I used to manage to buy fuel to power my generator, but since buying fuel is a do or die affair and at cut throat price, I had to stop selling. Before then when power failure started, I had to throw away the spoilt foods in my refrigerator because no one will buy them. .
“I appeal to government to improve on power supply and in case there is power failure, there should always be fuel to power the generator which is the only alternative in the country.”
Mr Clement Chukwu, a liquor dealer who owns other businesses in the estate told our correspondent that the epileptic power supply in Jakande estate is a different type in Lagos. “It has affected my business so much that, paying the rent of my store has become a problem. I have not had serious business since the beginning of this year because the power supply comes at midnight just for two hours and none at all during the day.
“My other businesses which include a hair dressing and barbing salon as well as a welding workshop have all grounded to a halt.”
Commending the youths and the landlord’s association for their unity of purpose, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Abiodun encouraged everyone’s efforts to attract constant electric supply to the estate.”