By EMEKA OKONKWO
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – TENSIONS are mounting in the Southeast following accusations of malpractices residents and civil society organisations have leveled against the region’s power distribution company.
The region has in recent months witnessed a series of protests by various power consumer bodies and civil society organizations (CSOs) against the alleged practices of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).
A raft of allegations have been raised, including graft, abandonment of management and maintenance of distribution transformers, non provision and installation of distribution transformers, swindling and extortion of customers, non provision and installation of prepaid meters.
Gravely, there have been reports of indiscriminate arrests and long detention of customers and EEDC staff in police cells with unsubstantiated accusation of vandalisation or tempering of EEDC equipment including prepaid meters.
Relations between the company and consumers are said to be at an all time low.
Several petitions have recently been lodged against the EEDC at the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Among the petitioners are Intersociety and Anambra, and the Consumers Forums through their lawyers.
Earlier this week, a media briefing was held in Anambra State to further raise public awareness on the issues under complaint.
“Clear messages were sent to the management of the EEDC to retrace its fraudulent steps or face the legal and advocacy wrath of the rights community in the Southeast zone,” said Emeka Umeagbalasi,
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law.
“The management of NERC was also called upon to proactively take up its statutory responsibilities particularly its regulatory responsibilities or be seen as anaccomplice, aider and abettor in fraudulent practices under complaint.”
Comment could not be obtained from EEDC or industry regulators.
– CAJ News