Electricity consumer forum chairman carpets EEDC for human rights violation
By Uzoh Ugwueze, Enugu
The National Coordinator of the South-East for President 2023, Rev. Okechukwu Obioha, has alleged that he was detained at the corporate headquarters of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, in Enugu for over four hours.
Okechukwu, who is also the National Chairman of Enugu Electricity Consumer Forum while championing the Igbo presidency 2023 project, had alerted journalists that he was under detention at the EEDC office.
Our correspondent reports that upon arrival at the Customer Service Section of the EEDC, Okechukwu was seated on bare-floor.
Addressing journalists on his experience, he said that trouble started when he wanted to recharge his pre-paid metre but was told that his metre had become obsolete.
According to him, “in December, the EEDC started a programme and stopped pre-paid metre consumers from recharging, without any notice. The people were scampering, getting confused. There were several plans for protest, which I helped to calm down.
“Even the NERC were approached and the NERC said one thing or the other contrary to the policy of the EEDC. With the complaints from the people, the EEDC still kept quiet. Then my own light got finished and I wanted to know whether what the people were complaining about was true or not. I came to the EEDC and they told me my prepaid metre was obsolete, that it can’t work, they won’t use it. This was a prepaid metre that is working very well.
“So, I applied for a new metre, followed all the processes with all the difficulties; at one of the sections, it was a herculean task for me to be registered. It took all the patience and l was registered.
“I was then referred to my area in New Haven. I got there, where I was supposed to be connected directly pending when the new metre comes. They told me that I must provide a vehicle before they would take me to my house for the connection, that if I don’t have a vehicle I should forget about it. The man treated me with reckless abandon, with ignominy.”
He further stated that in that frustration, he waited till the EEDC reversed itself owing to NERC order and started recharging the pre-paid metre.
“But you can see me here that they said there is no machine; they said I should go to about 10 kilometres radius at Awkunanaw, that’s the only place they provided the machine. Going to Awkunanaw, there are about 200 queues there, with all the pandemonium; that is the reason I am saying they must provide the machine. It appears there is something here they are not telling the people. I have been detained here for over four hours by the EEDC system.
“The whole Enugu and you provided two machines for over 45,000 customers. It is an indirect way of telling the NERC we do not want to obey your law,” he quipped.
But reacting, the EEDC Head of Communications, Mr. Emeka Ezeh said the company had no plan of punishing customers. He said the machines malfunctioned, except the few ones that had now been deployed to serve the affected customers.
Ezeh said: “We were able to salvage some of the machines that could still function and deployed them to some of the locations. We have two locations in Enugu; Awkunanaw and Abakpa District. We have in Awka, we have in Onitsha, we also have in Nnewi, and in Imo we have in Owerri. So, customers within these locations can approach any of these places.”
On Obioha’s alleged detention, Ezeh said, “I’m not aware of any customer that is under detention; we don’t detain our customers; we are here to serve our customers. If any customer is having issues, there are channels, there are avenues to deal with such issues.”
He said the Disco would get details of the staff who allegedly demanded for a vehicle from Obioha, vowing that “if a customer demands service, you have no right to ask for a vehicle. We shall get to the root of the matter and punish the person accordingly.”