From Maurice Okafor, Enugu
Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, Concerned Citizens of Enugu as well as a human right lawyer, yesterday described the planned recovery of stand alone meters from Electric consumers and at the same time tasking them to pay for the cost of its replacement with prepaid meters by the management of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company(EEDC),as undue exploitation of the consumers which must be resisted.
They called on President Buhari to stop EEDC from exploiting the electric consumers to such extent, to prove that he was not bribed by EEDC Managing Director,Chief Emeka Offor with the said ultra modern library Chief Offor built at Daura, Buhari’s hometown in Katsina state.
Addressing newsmen at the Secretariat of the Enugu state Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, yesterday,leader of the Coalition, Onyebuchi Igboke, said that if all entreaties make EEDC see reason reason to rescind their decision, they will do everything legally possible to ensure compliance to the yearnings of the people of Enugu state and the entire South Eastern states who are consumers of electricity.
The human right activist lamented that National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, seemed to have compromised their position by not restricting the extortionist tendency of the electricity distribution company, EEDC.
“Buhari should call EEDC to order over the replacement of the black box prepaid meter with the one being proposed by Meter Access Providers, MAP.
” We know that NERC approved a slight increase in electricity tarrif but subjecting the consumers to a meter replacement at a high cost is unacceptable since the meters are the property of EEDC.
“If Buhari fail to act, it will only confirm the belief that Emeka Offor has paid his dues by building a library at Katsina, the country home of President Buhari.
” Why is NERC keeping quiet. We are going to resist it the way Nigerians resisted the removal of subsidy,” Igboke declared
Corroborating, the leader of Concerned Citizens of Enugu, Ken Onyekaonwu said that it was unacceptable that the people should be confronted with hardship as EEDC intends to impose on the people of Enugu as well as the South East.
Onyekaonwu lamented that with the new policy, EEDC will replace a single phase meter with N39,000 while a three phase meter will attract N70,000 to the consumers instead of EEDC who are the rightful owners to replace the meters if they so wish.
“Will NTA or TVC go to peoples homes and claim ownership of television sets or dishes or the telecoms companies go to individuals to claim ownership of handsets people bought from the markets.
” If they are replacing meters, it should be the business of EEDC and not consumers. This is injustice and should not happen, ” he laments.
On his part, Barr. Daniel Chukwunonso Ogbe, human right lawyer said that government should break the monopoly of power distribution from the discos and even enact a law that states should generate and distribute electricity to enable completion in the power sector.
He said that he has gone to court already to challenge the obnoxious policy of replacing the stand alone meters EEDC intends to withdraw for the new ones Meter Access Providers, MAP, intends to supply.
Ogbe urged the people to rise up against the supposed injustice.