More questions than answers are arising to the perennial power outrage on the streets of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as newly contracted streets light installing and maintenance companies allege that part of the fundamental problems recorded is continual money extortion by the staff of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) each vicinity.
This open allegation was made during a meeting of the eight contractors and the leadership of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), to ascertain certain issues hampering the free operations and adequate street light across the FCT.
Recall that the Minister of FCT in the wake of incessant street blackout recently being experienced across the city gave an order for a return of illuminated street to the council concerned to ensure compliance to the order.
One of the new contractors, Engineer Jerome Egbo, noted that each time his staff experiences power outage at their area of coverage, sacrifices some amount of money before having the power restored almost immediately.
“Whenever the light on out managed street goes off, we goes straight to the area manager in-charge of the street and when we give out some money, then the power is restored immediately and that is how it has been.”
The contractors however appeals to the FCT administration and the AMMC to quickly address the issue alleged hence the regular payments of bills.
While addressing both the street lights and generating set contractors, Hajiya Umar tasked them to “always work hand in hand to attain the goal of brighter streets at night,” adding: “if there is no synergy among all the contractors, we will be in perpetual darkness.
“Do not strive to outshine one another, but work together for the interest of the FCT. Always put the generating sets off when there is power from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) so that
the Administration does not pay double.
“We do not want any excuses that there is no light, because the FCT Administration expects to see minimal vandalization of transformers and other facilities. There should be no gap. If any gap exists, quickly report to supervisors who are civil servants assigned on monitoring of the operation of both the contractors.”
Another advantage of this move, she averred, was the fact that “the AEDC was gingering up to finish the metering,” knowing fully that billing for electricity consumption in this regard would automatically go down.
She also called for 24-hour surveillance of the transformers, noting that “though they belong to AEDC. Any event of darkness will set the babambola to work in vandalization. Unless you want us to be sacked, work hand in hand. The Hon. Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello wants the streets in the city to be as bright as 20 years ago when the nights were like days in the city. “Feel free to make suggestions that would bring about improvements whenever you observe there should be a better way of doing things.
No one has monopoly of knowledge. Nigeria belongs to all of us, so we have to be diligent, honest, dedicated and patriotic in all we do. Who thought that change (change of contractors) was possible, but here we are; so make the change worthwhile so that we do not regret making it.”
Engr. Jerome Egbo further speaking, stated that maintaining “street light was a tedious job”, decrying high level of fake materials in the market. Engr. Egbo however, expressed concern that “sometimes, AEDC people deliberately switch off light to frustrate us and in order to continue reanaship of our contract with the FCTA and its subsidiaries, we waste no time of greasing their palms and the lights comes up immediately after money exchanges hand we want the authority to see that this ends. But we (street light contractors) during trouble shooting period, contractors must collaborate and also maintain a cordial working relationship with the AEDC to excel.”