Irked by what it called the outrageous billing and epileptic power supply, among other inhuman acts against electricity consumers in the state, the Enugu State House of Assembly on Friday asked the management of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to shut down its operations and vacate the state.
The lawmakers also asked electricity consumers in the state to stop further payment of over-bloated electricity bills, while asking that a state of emergency be declared in the activities of EEDC.
Other states in the south-east including Abia, Anambra, Enugu and Imo were also asked to take drastic action against the company by declaring state of emergency against them.
They also ordered the chairman of the company, Sir Emeka Ofor, and the managing director to appear before its six-man ad hoc committee to explain the company’s activities in the state.
This came as hundreds of electricity consumers in Enugu state early on Friday staged a protest to the House of Assembly over incessant power outage, outrageous billing, alarming tariff among other forms of alleged exploitative activities of the EEDC.
The protesters who displayed numerous placards with various inscriptions, had called on the lawmakers, to as a matter of urgency intervene on the issue while also demanding for the exit of the EEDC.
They claimed that the company since inception, had continued to make life unbearable for citizens of the state.
In adopting a five-point motion on matter of urgent important moved by Hon. Chinedu Nwamba representing Nsukka East State Constituency at a special sitting of the House, the lawmakers decried the activities of the Distribution Company, noting that rather than make lives meaningful for the people, it had continued to exploit the people.
The House urged the state government to liaise with the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to validate the quality of the new metres they are currently supplying the public to know if the setting was commensurate with the unit consumption.
They also lamented the discriminatory billing system against Enugu and other states in the south east, adding that while Distribution Companies in Abuja and Lagos were charging less and distributing power, the EEDC had continued to exploit the people with high bills without providing the needed power supply.
Contributing to the motion, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Donatus Uzogbado said the state was no longer ready to continue with EEDC adding “we have an endemic problem in our hands. The privatisation has become a bigger problem. We’ve entered a one-chance flying vehicle with an unknown destination. The billing system leaves a lot to be desired. I support the call for state of emergency, we don’t need EEDC any more here. I pass vote of no confidence on them”.
Speaking before setting up a six-man ad hoc committee to conduct public hearings in the three senatorial zones of the state, the Speaker, Edward Ubosi described the activities of EEDC as nothing short of “digital fraud”, adding that it had become so bad that electricity bill had become more than house rents.
The six-man ad hoc committee to conduct public hearing is headed by the Deputy Speaker, Uzogbado, with Honourables SKC Ude Okoye, Emeka Ogbuabor, Philip Nnamani, Chuka Eneh and Chinedu Nwamba.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the protesters, Mr. Eze Ajuluchukwu, said we” are tired of this EDCC mess, and that is why we are calling on members of the Enugu state House of Assembly to rise up and do something about this ugly issue.
Eze, who described EDDC as an anti-human company, stressed that “we are giving them two options, it is either they give us electricity or they leave Enugu state.
The masses according to him, were being exploited on daily basis by EEDC, and by their actions, the company was sabotaging the economic growth of the state.
As at the time of filling this report, the protesters had occupied the Assembly complex, insisting that the State would no longer condone the activities of the EEDC.
The aggrieved electricity consumers equally asked the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency undertake a review of the privatization of the power sector in Nigeria, as the EEDC lacked the capacity to manage electricity distribution in south- East Nigeria.
Some of the placards displayed by the protesters read thus: “EEDC stop defrauding us, pack your load and go” we are tired of irregular billing system”
“Our industries are folding on daily basis because of no power” we cannot take this anymore, Say no to EEDC”
“We can no longer stand and watch EEDC make us poor, they have forced many people out of their businesses” among other placards