• Businesses dead, robbers on rampage
Residents of the four Area Community Development Committees (ACDCs) in Ado-Odo Otta Local Government Area of Ogun State, comprising Owode, Ogo-Oluwa, Afimo/Agoro and Atago/Alade are currently going through hell.
The people are crying foul, over what they described as a deliberate move by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), to keep them perpetually in darkness. This development, according the people, has brought untold hardship to them, making life meaningless.
They lamented that despite the fact that the over 40 transformers, all the poles and wires were provided by them, without any assistance from the government, the IBDC could still not give them light.
The situation has forced a good number of residents, including landlords, out of the communities, thereby bringing business activities to its lowest ebb. In addition to businesses packing up on a daily basis as a result of the persistent darkness, hoodlums have cashed in on the situation to rob people blind. The activities of the hoodlums have added to the people’s sorrows.
When Daily Sun visited the communities, which population is estimated to be over 20,000 inhabitants, the once densely populated and busy communities had become deserted, with many shops under lock and key.
The coordinator of the four areas CDC’s Electricity Committee, Reverend Mike Tayo Folorunso, said: “It is a total sideline since 2014. The number of days we are supplied with electricity in one month is not up to three days and they will come with very exorbitant bills.
“We wrote to the then Business Manager (BM), Mr. Oyinloye, but he did nothing. We reported to IBEDC Ibadan head office, and the problem was restored. But, to connect us to the national grid, Oyinloye refused to do that. We complained and protested until he was transferred. After him was Peter Paul, who did wonderfully well for us. He would go from one CDA to another, calling for electricity forum and everybody was happy because he rationalized the insufficient electricity in such a way that everybody enjoyed it. And we also paid our bills promptly. But, since 2016, when Paul was transferred, the new BM has sent us back to the era of darkness.”
They accused the IBEDC of deliberate attempt to make their lives miserable as their efforts in the past to have prepaid metres, so as to avoid paying for services not rendered have been rebuffed by the company.
Mike said: “What we want is for the media to help us bring this to the attention of the government. We have also sent letters to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, the IBEDC Managing Director, Ibadan, the IBEDC Zonal office in Abeokuta and the BM at Sango Otta.”
A retired civil servant, Fadipe Rasaki who resides in Olorunsogu/Afimo area of the community, described the situation as very bad and urged the government to come to their aid.
Olorunwa Alimi, another resident, who has been a victim of the robbery attack, said: “Even when they want to supply us light, it is in the night, when we cannot use it. I repair refrigerators and air-conditioners. In the night when I cannot use the light, that’s when they give us light and at the end of the month, they will bring bills and expect me to pay. The situation is so bad that even armed robbers have taken advantage of the darkness to operate without hindrance. I have been a victim but I was lucky I survived. I sustained a deep cut during the incidence. Three men attacked me around 6:00am that fateful day.”
A businesswoman, Mrs. Ibidun Ogundele: “Landlords are packing out to rent houses outside. What we have here are empty rooms available to be rented, but, there is nobody forthcoming due to absence of electricity. It has also given robbers an edge to operate ceaselessly. There is no business at all. We want authorities concerned to come to our aid.”
The Area CDC chairman of Afimo/Agoro, Abidoye Dauda Adegboyega described the situation as pathetic: “We are more than 20,000 people in this area, but, for the past three or four years, we have been having this problem and they keep billing us heavily. I cannot call them armed robbers, but, they are worse than armed robbers. Armed robbers bear guns, but in their own case, they rob without guns.
“We don’t want to beat them. We don’t want to take laws into our hands, but our patience is running out. The situation is getting out of hand. They are pushing us to the wall and very soon, we may fight back. They have been telling us to bear with them, but for how long. And that is why we are taking all necessary actions, including going to the media to assist us and get the concerned authorities to listen to our problem and fix it.
“I pray that the concerned authorities will listen to us this time. They should give us prepaid metres in the meantime so as to stop this daylight robbery. We have been in darkness for over four years. And robbers are taking advantage of that. There was a time when as soon as darkness sets in, maybe around 8:00pm, they will start robbing from house to house. This happens within these four area CDCs. Some youths are now Okada riders because they can’t do their works again. Wielders, technicians, artisans, and petty businessmen/women are all moving out in droves on a daily basis because there is no light.”
“The time government will need us is coming; it is very close and at that time, they will meet us. Who are they coming to talk to when armed bandits have killed all of us in this community? They should please do something very urgently – the Local Council Development Area chairman, Ado-Odo Otta Local Government chairman, Ado-Odo Otta Zonal Chairman, having over 1000 CDA, governors and commissioners up to the leaders at federal level, should do something soon.”
Chairman of Owode Otta Area CDC, Whenu Jacob Oloruntoyin, lamented: “They supply us light once or twice every month and they bring exorbitant bills. Just on Monday, they supplied a low current and we may not see it again for this month. We need people to talk to the Federal Government and IBEDC to give us light; that’s our wish. We wrote letters to Ibadan, Abeokuta and Sango, held series of meetings with them and they all ended in promises. So, what we want now is for government to intervene.”
Oba Ogungbayi Akanni Wasiu, Onitetiku of Owode Otta said: “People have been threatening me because they believe I am collaborating with IBEDC to keep them in darkness. We have made several efforts to see that we have light, but the situation has remained unchanged. So, it will be my pleasure if you can help us to let the entire nation know of this problem, so that government can do something.
“The major problem is that our neighbouring communities always have light and that creates problem for our people. They wonder why there is light in the neighbouring communities and we don’t have light in our communities. People are moving out and criminals have taken advantage of the darkness to unleash terror on the residents.”
When Daily Sun visited the IBEDC office in Sango Otta, the Business Manager (BM), Saidu Adeboyejo and the Technical Manager, Makinde Ezekiel, were reportedly not on seat. The reporter left his phone number with one of the front desk officers, so that either of the two senior officers could call back later, but that never happened.
However, the BM did not pick several calls put across to him by the reporter. He also did not respond to a text message sent to his phone number, asking him to respond to the residents’ allegations against him and his company.