The residents of Lagos Island and occupants of one of the foremost business community in Lagos State ‘Sura Market’ are seeking for an alternative power supply to power their businesses.
The group decried the epileptic power outage and reprimand the Power Distribution Company ‘Eko Electricity Distribution Company EKEDC’ for failing in its mandate.
At a protest staged at the Company’s office in Lagos Island, the protesters demanded an outright disconnection from the national grid and requested for an approval to opt for an Independent Power Project IPP as a means to power their businesses.
Speaking to the journalists, the Chairman Association of Shop owners in the market, Mrs Bunmi Anne-Ajayi says the market is a multi-purpose edifice which housed numerous businesses such as Food and beverages, Law firm, Bureau-de-change, printing corporation among others and seldom enjoy 24-hour power supply, however, with a consistent circulation of outrageous bills.
According to her, “we are small scale business people and electricity supply is very crucial to our businesses”.
“We believe in entrepreneurial skills and we want our businesses to thrive so that we can also support the economic growth, but electric power supply to our market has been horrible”.
“The market has about 1,000 shops which were hitherto occupied, but the situation of power supply has moved so many people away and in fact crumbled some businesses and we have been paying outstanding bills despite the non availability of power,” Ajayi said.
Ajayi said that the community has resolved to do away with the distribution company and requested to be allowed to partner with a private firm to supply the complex adequate power supply in order to further their business activities.
“We need power supply and we could not get it, but now we have a company that is willing to give us the service, but we recently saw a newspaper publication from the Eko Disco saying that the move was like a threat to their business.
But based on our own understanding, Eko Disco is a private firm and the company we are employing its service is also a private outfit that is coming to fill the vacuum created by the Eko Distribution Company. We want to move along with the new company” she said
Others who spoke commended the stride of President Muhammad Buhari to improving the level of power supply compared to the past years, they suggested a state of emergency declared in the sector and called for total deregulation so as to allow for more competent hands.
The assistant financial secretary of the association, Mr Kayode Okunola said: “The government has been canvassing for the use of alternative power supply such as solar and all. I know this is as a result of inadequate supply to the people. We support the initiative and we seek for government intervention to address the inefficiency of the Power Distribution companies. Imagine, as at today, the country generates about 7,000 megawatts and all the distribution companies can distribute only 5,000. It shows there is actually a need for an alternative source of power if only we want the economy to grow further.”
“In fairness, the Nigerian government has been doing well and done everything to satisfy the people of the country. It only needs to change the laws or compel the power distributors to follow the law. The law is empathic that if they misuse the opportunity to service the people, government will take it back from them. This government is listening one, if it feels they are under performing, they should send them packing,” One of the protesters said.
While receiving the protest letter from the shop owners and reacting to the complaints brought forth, the MD/CEO of Eko Electricity company, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi said that the company did not wish to inflict pains on its customers as issues of power availability and tariff concern would be resolved.
Fadeyibi who explained that the distribution companies are incapacitated on the power generation, as the amount of electricity in circulation depends on what is supplied by the national grid, however called for understanding.
“What we give today is what we get from national grid. So we don’t create it,” he said.
He assured the shop owners that their letter would be treated as the company was willing to cooperate in terms of any requirement to come and sit at a table to resolve the issues