•Residents slam N5 million suit on EKDC over disconnection, extortion
By Job Osazuwa
Residents of 54, Rasheed Babatunde Street in Ajangbadi area of Lagos State, have filed a-N5million suit against Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), for allegedly wrongful cutting their power supply.
The claimants: Mr Daniel Anokwuru, Pastor Chukwudi Okoh and Mr. Chizoba Asomba, are accusing the electricity distribution company of casting them in darkness on various occasions. They claimed that among them, it was only Anokwuru that was not using a pre-paid meter.
Daily Sun learnt that trouble started on April 28, 2015, when officials of EKEDC stormed the claimants’ premises and disconnected their supply, claiming that the water pumping machine in their compound was bypassed, thus making it impossible for its power consumption to be read by any of the meters in the compound. The company subsequently slammed a fine of N50, 000 on the occupants, insisting that it must be paid before their power supply would be restored.
Anokwuru said every explanation that the pumping machine was connected to his analogue meter, and the pre-paid meters of his neighbours had nothing to do with the pumping machine failed.
He said the situation became more worrisome when they were left without electricity for six months but were later asked by EKEDC officials to pay the sum of N50, 000 as accumulated bill during the period they enjoyed no power supply. He said after paying the money, a certain EKEDC official showed up one day and asked the three consumers to pay additional N20, 000 as a penalty before their supply would be restored.
In a suit filed on their behalf by their lawyers, Echezona Okoye and Joe Nwokedi, the claimants were claiming that they were made to pay the N20, 000 even when the allegation against them was false. They said they were compelled to make the payment so that peace would prevail.
It was gathered that the EKEDC official who collected the said N20, 000 on the said day, came with his team. After working on the electricity meter, he told the residents that the bypass had been corrected and then restored power supply to the residents.
But unfortunately, Pastor Okoh said two months after the purported correction, another senior personnel of EKEDC showed up and ordered that their power supply be cut again for the same reason that they bypassed a pumping machine in their compound. They were said to have spent another two months without power following the second disconnection order.
Their lawyers accused EKEDC officials of perpetually extorting money from the claimants, while pretending to have rectified the purported wrong connection.
In a suit No M/32/2017, Okoye recalled that the defendant had called a peace meeting with the residents, after Daily Sun reported the matter.
The suit read in part: “The claimants aver that after the meeting, the defendant’s officials had disconnected the claimants’ electricity three times for the same reason, and that on each occasion, the defendant’s officials collected N20, 000 as reconnection fee before they could reconnect the power.
“The claimants aver that the defendant’s officials have not ceased to harass them with the threat that they may disconnect the residents’ electricity supply any time they wanted.
“The claimants aver that any time the officials disconnected the power, they spent huge amounts on fuelling and maintaining their power generators due to the illegal disconnection.
“By the reasons stated above, the claimants aver that they suffered great financial loss and inconvenience.
“Wherefore, the claimants claim as follows: a declaration that the disconnection of their electricity supply by the defendant was unwarranted and unlawful. There should be an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from further disconnecting the electricity on the unfounded allegation of meter bypass.
“There should be an order of court directing the defendant to refund all the monies taken from the claimants as reconnection fees or bypass reconnection fees.
“A general damage of N5million for the loss suffered by the claimants due to actions of the defendant be awarded.”
An official of EKEDC, Ajangbadi Zone, Ojo Business District, who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that the power distribution company had, had a series of meeting with the aggrieved residents, pointing out that their power had been restored. He added that there were peaceful moves by the company to render better service to the concerned residents.
“The house in question is not under disconnection right now. We have met with the consumers on several occasions to find a lasting solution to the problem; there should not be any need for this fresh concern. A new business manager has been posted to the district; he is about two months old in the area,” he said, adding that the new business manager might not be aware of the development.
He requested the reporter to speak with the EKEDC spokesperson, Mr Godwin Idemudia, on his mobile telephone number 080•••••932. Idemudia did not take call put to his line neither did he reply to test messages sent to him on the matter before press time.