Police, Awka residents clash over protest against poor power supply by EEDC
Men of the Nigeria Police Force have prevented residents of the Anambra State capital city; Awka from protesting against poor power supply by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC.
Residents of the town had thronged the Dr Alex Ekwueme Square to join a rights group, Recover Nigeria Project (RNP) on a protest march to the company’s head office in Awka.
Besides poor supply of power, other reasons for the protest as stated by the group included; crazy estimated billing methods by the company and non-issuance of prepaid meters, among others.
A police source told our reporters that the officers were acting on a court injunction obtained by the EEDC, restraining the group from carrying out the protest, saying that doing so would amount to disrupting its operations.
The convener, Mr Osita Obi, corroborated this when he spoke to journalists. He displayed a copy of the court injunction restraining it from embarking on the protest.
He said, “We came out here to protest today because aside from the excessive charges, the power supplied by the EEDC to Awka residents was nothing to write home about.”
He noted that his group discouraged Awka residents from paying their bills because the charges did not reflect their power consumption. According to him, RNP, had been agitating against estimated billings for two years, but the company has refused to do something about it.
He noted that RNP had sued EEDC on behalf of the residents after a series of complaints to override accumulated overestimated bills and poor power supply by the company, yet no positive response has come from her.
“Most residents in the state that do not have prepaid meters are feeling the pain of estimated billing. What we are fighting for the masses is to correct the anomalies in the power sector. So we are calling on the Minister of Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola to compel the management of EEDC and its chairman, Sir Emeka Ofor, to stop estimated billings and facilitate mass installation of prepaid meters to electricity consumers in the entire South east zone.
“People of the zone still EEDC, have the misconception that the is government owned, whereas it is a private-owned company that makes profit. Whether they supply power or not, they will charge and expect you to pay for what you did not consume; that is why we are concerned about it,” Obi explain.
He, therefore, called for the cancellation of the overestimated electricity bills, adding that consumers of EEDC in Anambra State needed prepaid meters to be in control of their electricity consumption.
He also expressed dismay that the group could be stopped from holding its march, saying that it was meant to be a peaceful march aimed at getting EEDC to do the right thing, and not a violent protest that would disrupt their activities