Ibadan community protests permanent blackout
On Wednesday, June 1, 2016, tragedy struck in Apata area of Ibadan, Oyo State. It was one day that the heavens opened and sent down the rains. The rain, accompanied by storm, reportedly claimed some lives and destroyed property worth millions of naira. A pastor and his family were resuced by policemen attached to Apata Division after water submerged major parts of the church.
But downpour and the storm particularly affected one of the communities, Aladeowo-Abanla. Some of the electric poles in the community fell during the rain. Since then, the community, which is very close to Omi-Adio and Apata on the Ibadan-Abeokuta Road, has been in a total blackout.
Prior to the heavy rain, Daily Sun gathered that power supply to Aladeowo- Abanla was epileptic since last year. The residents alleged that the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) removed the community from Eleyele feeder that provided regular and constant power supply last year.
A recent visit to the community by Daily Sun revealed that Aladeowo-Abanla, with more than 5,000 houses, has two transformers that have not been installed, apart from the one being used presently. A resident, Mr. Amsat Olasunkanmi, said he has been living in the community for two years, adding that the community had regular power supply till last year when IBEDC removed the community from one feeder to another. Since then, power supply to the community has become irregular, before the June 1 rain threw the residents into total blackout. He lamented that the he buys N1,450 petrol everyday to fuel his generating set.
Protem secretary, Aladeowo-Abanla Stakeholders’ Forum, Mr. Abodunrin Adejare, recalled that the community had problem with its transformer in 2014: “We contacted the IBEDC that they should replace the faulty transformer for us. They refused and we went ahead to purchase another transformer. We bought it for N1.7million with the contributions from members of the community.
“The IBEDC helped us with some installation materials and installed the transformer without collecting money from us. Since then, we enjoyed it till late last year when our community was removed from a feeder that gave us regular power supply to another feeder.
“Since then, we have been having problem with electricity in the community. We met with the company, they said it is an order from above. We even wrote a letter to them that we are not pleased with the services they are rendering to us. Nothing was done till the rain that fell on June 1.”
Adejare stated that the rain fell one electric pole at Bako Junction, adding that five other poles fell during the rain. Officials of IBEDC, according to him, came to the community thereafter, dug some holes with a view to replacing the poles, but did not come back to come back to complete the project.
He also lamented that some landlords, who have prepaid metres are still being served with paper bill: “I have a prepaid metre in my house and it has been mounted since November 16, 2015. They are still giving me paper bills. I contacted them, they said it would be corrected, but I have not seen the correction. Also, they have been giving our people crazy bills.”
Adejare stated that IBEDC brought a transformer to the community recently, while a philanthropist donated another transformer to the community: “The two transformers are now on ground in the community. We have asked them to install the transformers for us. But up till now, they have not come.
“They are not requesting for anything.
They only said they don’t have materials to do the installation. We want IBEDC to fix the problem of the poles that fell and restore the community back to the feeder that gave us regular and constant power supply.”
Chairman of the community, Mr. Olaniyan Abdul-Rasheed, appealed to the IBEDC to “install the two transformers. We are law-abiding people. We pay our bills without default.”
Brand and Corporate Communications Manager, Ibadan and Oyo Region, Mr. Frank Aina Williams, explained that the community was removed from Eleyele feeder because it was overloaded, promising that the company would work on how residents of the community would enjoy regular and constant power supply.
He said IBEDC officials had met with the leadership of the community and had mobilised workers to replace the electric poles that fell.
According to him, the community stopped the workers on the grounds that if the community was not restored to Eleyele feeder, they would not be allowed to work. He stated that the company would go back to the community to fix the problem.
On the two transformers that not yet installed, Williams said the technical team of IBEDC would inspect to know if they are in good condition.
He urged people that have issues with their bills and metres to contact the complaints desk of IBEDC, saying the issues would be resolved.