SPN frowns at IKEDC comment, ask Bolarinwa to withdraw his statement

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Solicialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Ifo LGA chapter has condemn a statement credited to Engineer Bolarinwa Idowu, Manager IKEDC, Olambe Undertaking that the residents of Maidan should pay the sum of #3.2 million before their transformer that has been taken away for repair since last December will be reinstated. This was contained in a press statement dated 2nd of November, 2018 and signed by Ayo Ajakaye, Chairman, SPN, Ifo LGA chapter and Mallam Yusuf Kazeem, Secretary, SPN, Ifo LGA chapter. Part of the statement read:
Related story: Pay #3.2 million to get new transformer – Bolarinwa tells Maidan residents

“The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Ifo LGA chapter in Ogun State strongly condemns IKEDC for telling residents of Matogbun, Oke Aro, Oseere, Maidan, Legun and other communities in Ifo LGA (Agbado/Oke Aro LCDA) that they have the option of not using electricity if they cannot afford the cost.

“This statement was made by the Olambe Undertaking Manager, Engineer Bolarinwa Idowu, on Thursday 1st November 2018 at the monthly meeting of the Matogbun Area CDC where residents had besieged him with several complaints concerning crazy billing, withdrawal of transformer and regular use of methods of coercion, intimidation and collective punishment by Olambe Undertaking to compel residents to pay crazy bill.

“We consider this statement irresponsible, vexatious and insulting to the residents of these communities who for years have been suffering from government neglect as well as exploitation by IKEDC. We demand that if this statement does not reflect the true position of the company then IKEDC ought to publicly withdraw this statement and apologize to the resident of the community.

“The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) considers access to regular and affordable electricity as an inalienable human right just like education, healthcare and shelter. For IKEDC, a company whose management and boards of directors ought to be charged for criminal exploitation of Nigerians for five years, to then turn around to declare that electricity is something that all Nigerians cannot enjoy shows how much further backwards privatization of electricity has taken us back as a nation. IKEDC together with other Discos not only bought the privatized electricity sector at rock bottom prices within the space of five years, they have added nothing new to electricity installations. This is aside their violation of all the terms of their contracts especially those concerning metering etc. Rather communities are still contributing money to buy and repair transformers, erect poles, buy feeders etc.

“The SPN also condemns the Olambe Undertaking for using the method of coercion, intimidation and collective punishment to compel customers to pay crazy bills. In the Ifo LGA and Agbado/Oke Aro LCDA of Ogun state, many communities contributed money to procure electricity installations like transformers, feeders, poles etc. Now, these transformers bought by the communities from their own sweat are now being withdrawn by IKEDC on the allegation that the communities are owing on their bills thus throwing entire communities into darkness. This is being done in a brazen and illegal manner that shows the kind of elements who run IKEDC.

“Usually, when communities reports any faults on their transformers to IKEDC, the technicians go over to the installation to check out the problem. Once they discover that there are some debts owed on the bills within the transformer’s area of coverage, they take in the transformer under the excuse that they need to repair it in their yard after which they turn around to ask the community to pay some amount before the transformer would be reinstalled. This amount often runs into millions of naira which most communities are unable to pay. In Maidan, a community which has been thrown into darkness for months now, IKEDC is demanding payment of N3.2 million naira before these communities would have their transformer back. The Kampala community has been thrown into darkness for at least a year now due to the same situation.

“The SPN frowns at this coercive method and collective punishment of entire communities which is in violation of all existing laws of the land. As far as we are concerned, the laws are clear on how electricity companies should pursue payment of debts. From our understanding of the relevant laws, nothing empowers IKEDC to throw entire communities into darkness by withdrawing their transformers.

“We therefore demand the following:
(1) Public withdrawal of the provocative statement credited to Engineer Bolarinwa Idowu, Olambe Undertaking Manager, to the effect that those who cannot afford crazy bill should not use electricity. The SPN insists that access to affordable and regular electricity is an inalienable human right just like education, health care and shelter.

(2) Return of the transformers of Kampala and Maidan communities which were illegally taken away by IKEDC in order to coerce residents to pay crazy bill. IKEDC should stop violating the law and it should follow the laid down procedure for pursuing defaulting customers.

(3) An end to the illegal practice of disconnecting whole communities by Olambe Undertaking anytime members of staff are harassed by residents frustrated by crazy bills. While the SPN does not support violence against IKEDC staff while conducting their lawful duties, we insist that the IKEDC should follow the laid down procedure for addressing such situation when it occurs. Disconnecting entire communities is retaliatory and to that extent unlawful.

(4) Privatization has failed. The SPN says no to renewal of the license of Discos. We demand the re-nationalization of the electricity sector under the democratic control and management by workers and consumers.”

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