Ogun communities appeal to Power Minister

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos  

Some communities in Ogun State have appealed to the Ministry of Power to prevail on the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) and the contractor handling Oke-Aro/Mowe electrification project to deliver the project as soon as possible.

Stakeholders in the communities under the auspices of the Concerned Ibafo Residents Forum, (CIRF), lamented what they described as perpetual darkness in almost a decade as they also called on the Ogun State Government to intervene.

President of the Forum, Mr Jacob Abolade said several efforts put in place by the communities had been to no avail, noting that the matter had come up for mention on the floor of Nigeria’s House of Representatives.

“Having observed the hardship the residents of Ibafo Communities were going through, a lawmaker, Mukaila Olayiwola-Kazzim, representing Abeokuta North/Obafemi Owode-Odela Federal Constituency moved the motion on the floor of the House of Representatives in November 2016 and that as part of the resolution, the speaker directed the House Committee on Power to look into it within eight weeks and the Ministry of Power to swiftly connect Ibafo Communities to the national grid,” he said.

 “Regrettably, the promises made by IBEDC through Mr. John Ayodele, Deputy Managing Director, and Mr Ade Ayileka, Chief Technical Officer, since November 2016 to light up Ibafo communities in December 2016 at a stakeholder’s forum at Mowe had again failed despite the massive support of the people towards its success,” Mr Abolade added.

“We view this none commitment and unpreparedness on the part of IBEDC, as a deliberate affront and we strongly implore the Minister of Power, Works and Housing to urgently probe into why all contracts awarded to deliver electricity to Ibafo communities are not completed until now,” he stated.

He added that the minister should ascertain why the dedicated line from Oke-Aro through National Independent Power Project which was commissioned in 2015 failed and yet the said contractor got a certificate of job completion from the supervising agencies under the ministry and taxpayer’s money used to pay for job not done.

“We cannot celebrate a decade of darkness in Ibafo, rather, we are appealing to well meaning Nigerians to add their voice to ours so that we can be extricated from the throes of endless suffering of 10 years without electricity, we are tired of empty and countless promises of connection from Ibadan Disco,” he stated.

Economic breakdown

Mr Abolade also gave a rundown of the economic impact of the situation.

“The population of Ibafo community is more than one million, with an estimated 250,000 families, by our calculation, each household uses five litres of petrol everyday between the hours of 7pm and 11pm; using the current pump price of 145 naira, five litres of petrol per household will give us 725 naira, if we multiply that by 250,000 that is 131 million naira per day and in 30 days, that gives us 3.9 billion naira, I don’t know why Ibadan DISCO (distribution company), a private organization could afford to lose this amount of money every month for 10 good years,” he stressed.

Speaking in the same vein, coordinator of the forum, Mr Feranmi Akinmuleya refuted claims that the people had earlier rejected the establishment of a power plant in the area, before it was finally sited in Oke-Aro part of Lagos.

According to Mr Akinmuleya, the proposed power plant could not be sited in a nearby community after a soil test was carried out, so the plant was eventually sited in Oke-Aro.

Impact on commerce

Artisans who also lent their voices said businesses were moving out of the areas due to the power situation, while existing ones were just trying to survive.

In December last year, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company announced that it has restored electricity supply to Magboro, Ibafo and the surrounding communities, a claim which the people said was a mere propaganda.

Omolayo.A