As Nigerians struggle to survive the hardship caused by the redesigned Naira notes and currency swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the situation has been further worsened for the residents of a part of Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA), under Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government LG Area of Lagos State.
The residents, who are spread across six streets, including: Aduke Odekunle; Aina; Ambali; Banjo Owoyele; Morenike and Wole Bamiduro have been groaning under pains and anguish as families now live under darkness, with social and economic activities totally collapsed and paralyzed, as their power substation called (Aina 2) was recently burgled by suspected staff of IKEDC.
Sources said that, when the suspects gained entrance into the substation, they removed four power supply cables from the transformer and took them away.
A community leader, who addressed journalists on the matter, but did not want his name in print, said that the ugly incident happened between Thursday 9 and early hours of Friday February 10, 2023.
He revealed that four technical staff of IKEDC from Olayiwola, new Oko Oba (Fagba) Undertaking Office, came to the community on Thursday as they routinely do and went collect the key to open and access the power substation.
The officials, who visited in the morning claimed that they wanted to cut grass inside the power house.
According to him, in the morning of the next day (Friday), residents of the affected streets suddenly observed that the neighbouring streets they share feeder with had electricity, but they didn’t have power supply on their streets.
He added that they immediately suspected that something might have gone wrong, which was the reason they visited the substation.
“It was then they observed that the station has been burgled and the power cables have been removed and taken away.
“Immediately after that, a formal complaint was made at Ebenezer, Ijaiye Police Station,” he said.
We were informed that the community leaders were asked to make statements, which they did, and the matter was subsequently reported at IKEDC Olayiwola Undertaking office.
“Then, we were promised that IKEDC officials would visit the community the following week, specifically on Monday.
“On Monday, (February 13), some youths and leaders in the area visited a former Chairman of Ojokoro LCDA and explained to him what happened, vis-a-vis the social and economic effects of the power outage, as well as the security threat the situation poses to the entire community.
“They also explained to the ex-LG boss how enraged they were and their resolve to stage protests against the injustice meted out to the community and residents.
“The former chairman appealed to the youths, and urged them to report the incident to both the security agency and IKEDC, and follow up for the needful to be done,” said a source.
It was gathered that they then went with the community leaders to IKEDC Undertaking Office for a meeting with the Technical Manager, and the team was said to have eventually met with one of the line Managers, whose name was given as Chuks.
Chuks was said to have said that while an internal investigation was ongoing, he was already engaging the Technical Manager on how new cables would be sourced and fixed for electricity to be restored to the community.
It was revealed that Chuks was not categorical, when he was asked about, when the new cables would be provided, as he told them that it is subject to availability of new cables from the headquarters.
The community leaders and youths were said to have moved to Ebenezer Police station on Monday, where they reportedly met the Manager in charge of vandalization at Jankara Business office – who had been invited by the DPO.
The Manager, we gathered, absolved the technical staff, who entered the power house the previous week, from any infraction.
Sources said that the DPO then directed that the four staff, who were in the community on Thursday, a day to the incident, should report at the station.
“It was shocking that on Tuesday, February 14, IKEDC produced only one of the four staff.
“The explanation given for this was that the remaining staff were on leave.
“Chuks did not pick the calls made to him for update on steps being taken so far by IKEDC on the matter,” said a source in the area.
We however, gathered that the DPO of Ebenezer Police Station has detailed an officer to visit the substation for an on-the-spot assessment and preliminary investigation.
The residents of the area have continued to express their agonies and frustration on the effect of the blackout on their homes, businesses and the community in general.
The situation for now, is unpredictable as the youths in the area have reportedly started mobilising themselves to protest against the matter as they were said to have suspected foul play on the part of IKEDC.