Protesters block Lagos Assembly over abnormal electricity tariff

Protesters block Lagos Assembly over abnormal electricity tariff

Monday, November 16, 2015 10:31 pm

The protesters today

The protesters today

By Eromosele Ebhomele.

Residents of Lagos State, western Nigeria on Monday blocked the two entrances to the State House of Assembly for hours refusing to leave until their grievances were addressed.

Armed with lanterns and placards against the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, the protesters, under the auspices of Youth Alliance for better Nigeria, lamented that every month, they are made to pay huge sums of money as electricity bills when they hardly even get power supply.

Some of the placards read: “Outrageous bill, oppressive conduct of staff,” “Fashola save Nigerians from darkness,” “Enough exploitation of ten streets on a transformer,” “We need prepaid metres,” “Frustration of government effort to provide employment by not improving the epileptic power supply,” “If you cannot serve us, you should not exploit us,” “Dissolve NERC, withdraw Ikeja electricity license and boost your party popularity,” “Buhari must dissolve Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. Please do this for us,” and “When learning stops, liberation stops. We cannot read at night. Don’t kill the youths.”

The protesters got angry when hours after standing opposite the House, no lawmaker came out to address them.

They then decided to block the road which also leads to the Governor’s office sitting on the road to disallow vehicles from plying it.

The protesters lamented that some areas in the Alimosho area of Lagos have not had power supply for months even though they pay bills monthly.

Leader of the group, Moruf Adegoke Niniola, said this was not the first time of storming the House of Assembly to protest against the high-handedness of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company.

According to him, a delegation of the group had earlier met with the state government which set up a committee. He however said some top management staff of the IKEDC frustrated the move for an amicable solution.

“As I am talking to you, the committee is not sitting anymore. The last sitting of the committee was held on 2 October. Abule-Odu in Alimosho has not had power supply in more than three months.

“The IKEDC supplied pre-paid metres to customers but the metres have not been working. The company has not resorted to coded billing system or what you call estimated billing,” he said.

Addressing the protesters later after Monday sitting, the Majority Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade, who spoke on behalf of the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, told the protesters that the struggle was a genuine move to ameliorate the plight of millions of Nigerians over epileptic power supply in the country.

While advising the protesters to make the fight a collective one rather than being selective, Agunbiade said: “the struggle is not meant for those who are here alone, it is a struggle for everybody.

“I do not want you to isolate your struggle. The moment some people in the struggle negate the belief, you can’t achieve the purpose.”

Agunbiade assured the group that the House would do everything possible to put the matter before the right quarters.

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