By Vincent Ujumadu & Dennis Agbo
AWKA—ELECTRICITY consumers in Odeagba and Arthur Eze Avenue areas in Awka yesterday took to the streets to protest power outage in the area for the past nine months.
They also frowned at the alleged release of two members of staff of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, allegedly involved in vandalization of a transformer in the area by the police.
This is as the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, CRRAN, dragged the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatude Fashola, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC and the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, to court for violation of consumers rights in the South East geopolitical zone.
However, the Enugu region of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, has apologized to residents of communities in Enugu and Ebonyi states whose power supplies were cut off since Saturday December 2, 2017.
The company said the communities hit by the power failure were those taking supplies from the 30MVA, 132/33KV power Transformer located in Nkalagu, Ebonyi state.
Consumers protest outage
Led by the chairman of Arthur Eze Business Association, Mr. Amaechi Okeke, the protesters in Awka said, since October 2016 when the Arthur Eze sub-station/transformer was vandalized, the area had been without power supply, expressing surprise that two EEDC workers allegedly caught vandalizing a transformer in the area were later freed by the police.
Their protest disrupted commercial activities at the EEDC office in Awka for several hours and caused traffic gridlock in the state capital.
Okeke said: “Two officials of EEDC were arrested for allegedly vandalizing the transformer in the area and they were promptly handed over to the police. We were surprised that the police later released the suspects on grounds that they were not criminals.
Reacting to the protest, the EEDC Network Manager, Mr. Samuel Onuoha said about 200 transformers were vandalized by hoodlums between January and November this year in Anambra State, adding that the development was impacting negatively on the operations of the company.
Rights group drags Fashola EEDC, NERC to court
Meanwhile, human Rights group, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, CRRAN, has dragged the Minister for Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company to court for violation of consumers rights in the South East geopolitical zone.
The Rights group which filed its suit at the Federal High Court in Enugu is seeking for revocation of the operating license of the EEDC, for alleged flagrant disregard to the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005, which provides adequate protection to consumers but which CRRAN said the reverse had been the case in Southeast Nigeria.
Joined in the suit are the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and the Minister of Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
President of CRRAN, Mr. Olu Omotayo said that the EEDC operates in the Southeast as if there is no enabling law regulating its’ activities in the Power sector, recalling that the “monstrous activities of EEDC without regard to all enabling laws regulating the grant of license to it, led the Enugu State House of Assembly to pass a vote of no confidence on 7th April 2017.”
Omotayo said that the 3rd and 4th Defendants, Fashola and the NERC, were joined because they have powers to caution and stop the lawlessness of EEDC but they chose to look the other way, thereby encouraging EEDC to continue its’ lawlessness.
He said: “The act of the 3rd defendant (Hon. Babatunde Fashola) in encouraging the disregard of consumers’ rights is a ploy to keep the southeast behind other regions as electricity distribution company in other regions are not lawless as the 1st Defendant.”
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