INSIDEMAINLAND – Residents of the Oko-Oba community in Lagos State came out on Wednesday to protest against what they called the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company’s indiscriminate disconnections and estimated billing.
They are also condemning the detention of Imam Fatai Shaheed and Odewale Jamiu, two members of the community, whose detention was allegedly ordered by the Oko-Oba unit of the IKEDC.
They have currently gathered at the Abbattoir Police Station to demand the release of the two people who have been taken into custody.
The Ikeja DisCo and the Oko-Oba community had already been at odds over issues involving exaggerated billing.
Following a report from June 2022, Oko-Oba/Orile Development Union-affiliated residents held a protest regarding related issues in which they stated they would not be willing to continue paying for power until they were given prepaid meters.
A resident named Funmi Ajayi said that the police were intimidating their neighbors due to estimated billing.
She said “They’re giving us estimated billing. One house was given N160,000 in a month, another house was given 120,00 in a month. We were rejecting it. Due to this, our comrades were arrested in the mosque early this morning!”
Another resident, referred to as James, claimed that the DisCo started cutting off the electricity of certain homes on Tuesday when they were unable to pay the estimated bills.
According to him, “They (the DisCo) called a meeting and complained that we were supposed to generate N90 million for them but we were only able to pay N50 million and that they would start disconnection. They came to disconnect the exact power poles of the organizers in the community. There was an altercation between some of them, suddenly they brought a Mobile Policeman from Alimosho to Oko Oba.
“The policeman brought out his gun. He shot in the air.”
He further stated that a resident had been harassed by an IKEDC officer during a fight that broke out at the point of disconnection on Tuesday.
He confirmed that the official also pretended to be dizzy in order to be rushed to the hospital.
In his words, “This morning, as early as 5:30 am, the Divisional Police Officer of Abattoir Police Station went to mobilize his men to arrest one Alfa and Jamiu.
“The community is now protesting at the station and from there, they will go and shut down the office at Emmanuel, Oko Oba.”
Efforts to get the IKEDC’s response were unsuccessful.
When reached, Mr. Musa, the undertaking manager of the IKEDC’s Orile-Agege unit, declined to comment on the situation since he was not permitted to do so.
As of the time this report was released, messages left on the IKEDC’s official lines and accounts had not received a response.