David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
Thirteen rights groups based in the Southeast under the aegis of Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights and Good Governance Organizations (SBCHROS) have protested the activities of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company(EEDC) in the zone.
The groups in a petition to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, accused the company of illegal deals which has kept the people of the Southeast in perpetual darkness.
The petition which was also copied the acting Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr. Anthony Akah; the Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Senator Enyinnaya Abiribe, and the Chairman House of Representatives Committee, Hon Effiong Daniel, was titled: â€˜Seeking the rescue of the people of Southeast from chronic bondage, oppressive and criminal conducts of EEDCâ€™.
The petition referenced Ref:
Intersociety/SBCHROs 001/012/017/FG/ABJ, read in part: â€œThis letter contains EEDCâ€™s untamed and unbearable criminality, recklessness and lawlessness in the entire 18 business districts of the company in Southeast.
â€œThese findings arise from our in-depth investigation. The joint letter seeks expeditious and competent intervention of its recipients to rescue the people of the Southeast or Igbo people of Nigeria from shackles and manacles of EEDC in the zone.â€
The petitioners further stated that â€œwe are deeply concerned over sundry criminal activities and other forms of lawlessness going on in EEDC. Electricity as the livewire of the people of Southeast zone or Igbo people of Nigeria and driving force of the economy of the zone has been brutally denied the people of the Southeast especially since 2012 when EEDC came on board in the zone.
â€œThe steady and affordable power supply and associated social convenience and happiness is speedily on the brink; to the extent that criminal syndicates have taken over EEDC; running riot on vulnerable consumers in the zone with reckless abandon.â€
The group expressed sadness that oversight agencies and other
mechanisms such as NERC appear weak or compromised. It added that the failure of these oversight bodies to check and tame the excesses of EEDC has emboldened and escalated the â€œcriminal activities and lawlessness of the company.â€
â€œAs a matter of fact, EEDC appears to have become an outlaw; flouting its terms of agreement with the federal government that led to granting of licence to same company to distribute and market power supply to the people of Southeast.
â€œThe most disastrous of it all is the
reckless abandon and impunity with which EEDC breaches the clear provisions of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Act (Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act No 6 of 2005) and the fundamental human rights and other relevant provisions of Nigeriaâ€™s 1999 Constitution.
The group ranked the EEDC as the worst of all the distribution companies in the country, saying it leaves its customers with the burden of procuring transformers yet they take ownership of it upon installation.
The coalition called on the relevant authorities to come to the aid of the people of the zone and also prevail on the EEDC to drop most of its hard stance against its customers.