Rights groups, consumer forums rise against Enugu Electric over alleged sharp practices

Posted by News Express | 29 November 2015 | 4,761 times

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A coalition of rights groups and consumer forums across the Niger have risen against the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) over what they described as the fraudulent activities of the firm.

The coalition at a crowded media briefing in Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State, lamented that previous efforts made to get EEDC to turn a new leaf had yet to produce the expected results. The briefing was attended by the leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), led by Emeka Umeagbalasi; Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization, led by Comrade Aloysius Attah; Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights, led by Justus Uche Ijeoma, Esq.; and the Electricity Consumers Forum in the Southeast, represented by Iyiowa Electricity Consumers Forum in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State, led by Rev Elisha Umeh and Barr Mrs. Walson Nduka.

A statement dated November 27, 2015 and signed on behalf of the coalition by Umeagbalasi summarised their grievances and efforts so far made to get EEDC to make a change for the better. The statement reads in part:

“The Southeast zone has in recent months witnessed a series of protests by various power consumer bodies, including the large scale industrialists, the small and medium scale industrialists, market associations, residential forums, landlords associations and the human rights segment of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) against the unchecked sharp practices of the EEDC in the Southeast zone. The graft practices range from abandonment of management and maintenance of distribution transformers and replacement of their accessories when burnt or worn out; non provision and installation of distribution transformers; swindling and extortion of customers; non provision and installation of prepaid meters; indiscriminate arrests and long detention of customers and EEDC staffs  in police cells with unsubstantiated accusation of vandalization or tempering of EEDC equipment including prepaid meters; issuance and collection of criminally estimated bills; to reckless mass disconnection of power lines and abysmal customer relationship.

“Several petitions have been lodged in several public offices against the EEDC including those lodged before the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). The petitions include those of Intersociety and Anambra CLO, dated 10th of November 2015 as well as those written by the Consumers Forums through their lawyers. As a follow-up to these petitions awaiting bureaucratic response from the offices they were directed including the NERC; a crowded media brief was held in Iyiowa Layout of the Ogbaru Business Unit in Anambra State on 25th November 2015 to further raise public awareness on the issues under complaint.

“At the media briefing organised by the Iyiowa Electricity Consumers Forum in conjunction with International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (lead-petitioner), the Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization and the Forum for Equity, Justice & Defense of Human Rights; clear messages were sent to the management of the EEDC to retrace its fraudulent steps or face the legal and advocacy wrath of the rights community in the Southeast zone. The management of NERC was also called upon to proactively take up its statutory responsibilities particularly its regulatory responsibilities or be seen as an accomplice, aider and abettor in fraudulent practices under complaint.

•Photo shows Barr. (Mrs.) Walson Nduka of the Iyiowa Electricity Consumers Forum fielding questions from reporters during the Onitsha briefing on EEDC’s alleged atrocities.

Source: News Express

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