From its entrance, the dusty road is plagued with erosion-triggered slopes, vehicle-dangerous bumps and rough patches. Navigating the interlinking streets from Kayode Adelokun to the inner corridors of Liberty Community Development Association is an extremely discomforting ordeal on its own.
However, that is the least of their problems.
For the past four months, residents in over 12 different streets at Liberty CDA, Ikotun, Lagos, have not experienced electricity supply for even a minute.
“People are tired. We have just been having problems upon problems. Since March, before the lockdown began, we have not had light in our area. Repairs all the time. People are not happy,” the Community Leader, Mr. Kayode Adelokun lamented.
He explained that the blackout is as a result of a faulty transformer in the area, adding that the residents “unanimously decided” to resist accepting any form of short-term repairs until the community receives a new one.
“We have had that transformer for about 23 years now. Initially, the houses using it were not so many – about 250. But as development began, we started having more buildings. Now, we have about 5,000 buildings. Over 13 or 14 streets using one transformer. Big structures with many flats. The transformer can not even serve half of the community.
“We had started load shedding about 12 years ago; some streets would have two days of light while some days they would have just one. But during those two days, you can not even enjoy eight hours of light. Yet, they kept bringing crazily high electricity bills.
“The decision to totally refuse them patching up the faulty transformer was unanimous; because we know it would spoil again. Even at that, when we started making complaints, they said that they were to come and carry out repairs – they said they would bring in nine new poles, so that we can manage the transformer. If they did it then, perhaps we could have managed it. But they did not complete the repairs. We did not see anything. We have demanded an additional transformer to relieve the old one. Everybody agreed.”
According to another community representative, the Chairman of the Committee on PHCN Affairs, Mr…., the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company (IKEDC) had been contacted severally about the problem, however they are yet to accede to the community’s demands.
“We have been writing to them. We have been complaining for many years now. They have been fixing it and we have been managing it. But it would always spoil. For over four months, we have not had light, because we demanded a new transformer over them patching the old one. We sent them a letter last month again, demanding and they supply us a new transformer, but they said they would get back to us. They have not gotten back to us.”
Adelokun corroborated, adding that the IKEDC had also refused to communicate in paperwork, as they “would tell us on phone that the management is working on it.”
‘Crumbling Businesses, Tough Living Conditions’
You could feel the anguish in her voice when Ms. Bunmi Adeniyi, lamented how her frozen meat and fish retailing business had crumbled following the blackouts.
“I have just had to make do with selling other things, like palm oil and vegetables. You know that our business (selling frozen meat and fish) can not be solely run on generators. The generator would even spoil. So, I can’t keep selling it as I can’t preserve it. The thing is really affecting my business.”
The story is similar for Mrs. Folake Adeyemi, a resident and a Soft Drink retailer in the axis, as she has had to switch to an alternate trade of selling chicken eggs to survive.
“We are really suffering. The government has to do something about it. That transformer is old. It is about 22 years or more. Now, there are many buildings in this area. It is spoiled now. We haven’t seen light in going to five months now. I can’t sell my drinks again. I just have to sell other things, like these eggs. It is really difficult,” she complained.
Another business owner, Mr. Olaniyi Ayinde, who owns a men’s hair salon, lamented that the situation has severely affected his revenue.
“I am even thinking of leaving this area, like many other people. People are leaving; they have packed to other areas. The thing is really affecting me seriously. Look, on a daily basis I spend up to 1,500 buying fuel. Even this morning, I have bought 2,000 Naira fuel, and I know I would still buy before today ends. How much am I gaining?
“Before, when the transformer was still good, I was not even buying up to N300 Naira fuel every day. Now, I am spending as much as 30,000 Naira every month on fuel. It is really paining me.”
For Mr. Micheal Nemoh, another resident, the situation has greatly inconvenienced his expenses, which have to include a daily purchase of fuel for his generator.
When the LagosToday visited the community, it observed that most of the businesses are running on generators, while the rest manage their operations without electricity.
It was also observed that apart from the caucus of streets suffering the blackouts, other streets in the area are experiencing electricity supply.
‘We Are Ready To Go To Court’
“To be in darkness is a very bad thing. But we see it as a sacrifice. We are not fighting for today. We are fighting for tomorrow,” Adelokun’s voice switched to an uproar that sounded more solemn than confident.
The community chairman noted that the community had contacted a lawyer to dispute the IKEDC in court.
He noted that they are yet to agree on a deadline, before they make good their threat.
However, he affirmed that, if the IKEDC fails to resolve the problem, they would proceed to file a lawsuit against them.
Follow us on social media