Posted by News Express | 24 January 2019 | 1,257 times
Startling revelations have followed a news report published by News Express on Thursday on the blackout in some parts of Ojodu area of Lagos since January 2, 2019.
In the story captioned, “Power outage throws Ojodu Lagos into darkness”, it was stated that some residents claiming to act on the instruction of officials of Ikeja Electric Distribution Company, Ojodu area office, were going round to collect N5,000 from each house in the area to make up the N500,000 bribe demanded from some officials of the power distribution company before a new transformer could be installed.
But in the said story, the assistant manager of the company in the area, Mr. Adodo, had denied knowledge of such levy on the residents, promising that management would embark on public enlightenment the next day to dissuade residents from paying the “illegal” money, a promise that was never kept.
But contrary to Mr. Adodo’s denial, some residents have revealed that officials of the company actually asked for the N500,000 bribe in order to speed up the return of power in the area.
A resident who spoke to our correspondent under anonymity for fear of victimisation said that when the power outage dragged for more than one week, some residents in the area had approached officials of the company to know the actual position of things and what the company was doing to restore power supply to the area.
“A top official of the company told us that the transformer had damaged beyond repairs, hence the power outage. He demanded that if residents would pay up their outstanding bills, a new transformer would be purchased. He told us that the outstanding bill in the area amounted to N26 million,” narrated the resident.
According to the source, they were surprised at such a huge amount of money allegedly owed by residents of only six adjourning streets in the area affected by the power outage.
The source lamented that Ikeja Electric “does not read the meter”, adding: “Besides there are several houses in this area without meter, so how on earth did they arrive at such an amount of money as outstanding bills?”
Continuing the source said: “We asked what we could do in the interim to bring back light to the area, as paying N26 million would be an uphill task. That was when the official demanded for N150,000. We did the mathematics and set out to collect N5,000 from each house in the area while churches and business concerns were each levied N20,000 and above.”
News Express has it on good note that some residents and organisations in the area had actually made their payments, including Alheri Hospital and Assemblies of God Church, each of which paid N20,000.
Our source hinted that a reasonable amount of the money had been collected from residents and not less than N100,000 was so far handed over to a top official of Ikeja Electric in the area before the story broke out on Thursday.
News Express gathered that the damaged transformer was actually purchased some years back through the efforts of the residents.
A 300KV transformer was bought by the residents and handed over to the then Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) when the previous transformer was damaged at that time.
When there was frequent power outage, the power company replaced the new transformer with an old 500KV one about four years ago. It was this old transformer that went bad on January 2, which has thrown the area into darkness getting to one month now.
Checks by News Express reveal that a new transformer costs about N3 million.
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