From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Landlords and residents of Udoka layout Housing Estate, Nsugbe , Anambra East local government area, near Onitsha have petitioned the Chief Executive Officer of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) over the sudden disconnection of the estate from public power supply and unlawful attempts to connect electricity supply to another estate in the area using materials and facilities provided by the Udoka landlords Housing Estate.
In two separate petitions to the EEDC head office , Enugu made available to Daily Sun, lawyer to the landlords, Barr. Chibueze Oguchienti noted that attempts by the EEDC Onitsha Business Unit through their Nsugbe Estate Manager to unlawfully connect electricity supply to residents of Akpalagu-Ogwuari Estate Nsugbe and others using materials and facilities provided by Udoka Layout Landlords Association , Nsugbe is breeding tension and will likely cause a breach of public peace in the area if not properly handled.
Oguchienti noted that Udoka Layout Housing Estate , Nsugbe has been a private residential estate, registered under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with elected executives who run the affairs of the Association from day to day by ensuring security of lives and properties of its members and residents in the estate as well as the maintenance of good roads.
He said the estate landlords in most cases pull resources together and borrow funds, when necessary from members, sometimes with interests, to buy materials for connection of electricity and related services in the estate, to ensure seamless electricity supply in the estate by the EEDC.
Unfortunately, the lawyer disclosed that there have been some clandestine moves by the EEDC officials in the area to connect electricity to another residential estate in the area known as Akpalagu-Ogwuari Estate, using materials belonging to the Udoka Estate landlords , as well as feeding those people through the transformer, registered in the name of Okey Chimenta who donated same to the estate, without the permission or concurrence of either the owner of the transformer or the Udoka Landlords Association.
Barr. Oguchienti who provided details of the clandestine moves by the EEDC in concert with some disgruntled elements in the area, disclosed that the Udoka Housing Estate Landlords had an initial mutual agreement with the Akpalagu –Ogwuari Estate Landlords, that the latter will pay the requisite fees and also reimburse the former upon undertaking the costs leading to connection of electricity to their residents.
Surprisingly, he said that instead of heeding to this mutual agreement, the said Akpalagu Ogwuari Estate residents, stealthily, approached the EEDC men hiding under the umbrella of a registered splinter association; Progressive Udoka Estate Landlords Welfare Association, formed by disgruntled members of the Udoka Estate Landlords Association to cause confusion and disaffection in the estate.
He said the EEDC Estate Manager in the area failed to listen to the authentic Udoka Landlords Association words of caution that the splinter association was not recognized by the residents of the area while the materials they were attempting to use, were not purchased by the so-called association and is now hell bent on connecting light to the people to the detriment of the authentic landlords association in the area.
While noting that the association was not challenging the powers of EEDC to connect electricity to prospective subscribers, the petitioner noted that the act of using materials of an association to connect to another association without proper settlement of terms amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul.
He disclosed that as a result of the disagreement in the matter and against the background of insisting on doing the proper thing in line with the constitution of the Udoka Landlords Association, EEDC disconnected electricity supply to the estate on the 3rd of July to the 7th of July 2022 and disconnected them again totally from 14th of July 2022 till now.
While calling on the EEDC Chief Executive to timeously intervene in the matter and restore power supply to the Estate, he noted that disconnection of power supply to the estate is an act capable of having the tendency to cause a total breach of peace in the estate, as much as it would lead to unimaginable economic consequences.
The legal representative threatened that they may be constrained to seek appropriate legal remedies, in a court of competent jurisdiction if their request was not acceded to in record time.
Meanwhile, following the continued disconnection of the Estate from electricity supply, another lawyer, A,O Obianwu has also written to the EEDC management over the illegal disconnection.
In another petition addressed to the EEDC on behalf of some landlords in the Estate which included Okey Chimenta, C.P Oguchienti (Barr), Ebuka Umeji, Tochukwu Okpoko, Anayo Chiekwe, Sunday Okenwa, Arinze Ozokwelu, John Nwedu (Chief), Collins Igwe, Azubuike Ozokwelu, Anayochukwu Ogbuagu and Agozie Obi, Barr Obianwu recalled that over 4000 residential and commercial houses in the Estate have been thrown into darkness over the impasse.
He regretted that no reasons have been adduced officially by the EEDC over the total disconnection while the situation has occasioned enormous losses to the residents of the Estate.
He demanded a remedial action on the EEDC coupled with a written apology to avert further legal tussle with the power distribution company.
But when contacted for comments, the EEDC Estate Manager in charge of the area, Engr. Vincent Ekwekwu confirmed the disconnection of supply in the area.
He said EEDC had to withdraw its services at the Estate because the landlords association wanted to commercialise power installations in the area.
He said that while EEDC will not dabble into the leadership crisis in the estate, the people should realise that they have relinquished ownership of the electrical installations they procured in the area immediately they handed them over to EEDC management and for that reason, they have no power to charge any money from another estate that may want to connect light from their source in the area.