…Group condemns destruction of AEDC Facilities by the protesters
From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
As a result of the peaceful protest staged by the angry electricity consumers in Ganaja town, a suburb of Lokoja, the Kogi state capital on Thursday over what they described as the inefficiency of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) and arbitrary billing of consumers, the company has cut off power supply to the area.
When our reporter visited Ganaja town at the weekend, the area was in total darkness.
Our Correspondent findings from reliable sources confirmed that the black out was a punishment for the protest.
A source described the protest as an embarrassment, even though the claimed poor services offered by the company may not have been totally perfect, describing the action of the angry consumers as unexpected.
But in a swift reaction, the spokesman of the Ganaja village community, Liman Ishaq, said the AEDC action is adding salt to the injury, most especially that their protest was a peaceful one, having got police permit to register their complain.
The community leader called on the management of AEDC to address the issues that led to the protest, pointing out that if there was any embarrassment caused the company as claimed, it could have been the work of fifth columnists.
All efforts to reach the public relations officer on when the light would be restored proved difficult as she could not be reached on her mobile line.
Speaking with our reporter, a resident of Ganaja town described the action to punish even those who are up to date in payment of their bills and were not a party, nor had knowledge of the protest, was wickedness taken too far. She called for a rethink.
The action by the AEDC to put the Ganaja town community in darkness is however, triggering more angers, as the youths said that the interrupted supply of power would also be met with further protest.
They wondered why the company decided to ‘play God’ rather than address the issues.
Meanwhile, the Light Up Movement group at the weekend condemned in strong terms the attack and destruction of properties of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Lokoja Area Office by aggrieved protesters.
A statement issued by Mr Isiyak Suleiman, Chairman, Light Up Movement, in Lokoja, said the attack on the AEDC office and destruction of some of its properties remained condemned and unacceptable.
According to Suleiman, the advocacy/sensitization tou which the group is embarking on in collaboration with AEDC, is to enlighten the public on channels through which consumers can have their complaints adequately addressed, among others.
“To imagine having a scheduled engagement with Ganaja Community on Jan. 16, and they are vandalising office infrastructure on Jan. 10, to drive home their demands, leaves us to wonder.
“It is the right of the consumers to seek redress and demand for better service within the ambit of the law including peaceful protest.
“As a movement, we are aware of so many power issues across Kogi and not just Ganaja alone, and engagement is ongoing with AEDC to bring an end to these issues.
“This engagement is to enable our people in Ganaja and other places to have equitable power to do their businesses and live well.
“Therefore, resulting to self- help to a point of vandalising company’s properties is unacceptable and it stands condemned,” he said.
He advised communities facing challenges to explore dialogue as a means of resolving their complaints rather than resulting in wanton destruction of properties.
He assured that the Light Up Movement would continue to use every peaceful method to mediate between electricity consumers in Kogi State and the AEDC.
Suleiman noted that the Movement at the weekend carried out an advocacy and enlightenment campaign in Anyigba while that of Kabba and Okene would hold on Jan 14, and Lokoja would be on Jan. 16.
Our Correspondent reports that The Light Up Movement is a pressure group that advocate for quality and better service delivery of basic amenities for the people of Kogi State.