From: Madu Ezenoha , Enugu
Enugu state House of Assembly has passed a motion ordering Enugu Electricity Distributon Company (EEDC) to vacate the state, describing the firm as “a criminal enterprise”.
The development came Friday following a motion sponsored by Hon. Christian Chinedu Nwamba, member representing Nsukka East state constituency and 22 other lawmakers.
Scores of electricity consumers in Enugu had before the house sitting, staged a protest to the state House of Assembly over incessant power outage, outrageous billing, alarming tariff among other forms of alleged exploitative activities of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC.
However in his motion on behalf of 22 others, Hon. Nwamba who is also the Chairman House Committee on Public Accounts and Anti-Corruption stated that unwarranted activities of EEDC in the provision of electricity services to the people of the state had reached an alarming and unbearable stage.
Although Nwamba made three prayers in the motion, the House amended and increased the motions to six, including; declaration of a state of emergency on EEDC with an order for the company to vacate the state forthwith, and that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission should direct EEDC to stop billing customers in Enugu pending the resolution of the identified problems.
Other prayers are: Enugu state set up a technical committee to laiase with EEDC to validate the quality of New Meters they are currently supplying the public to know if the setting is commensurate with the unit consumption; the EEDC should sit up and begin to do business in line with the international best practices and stop charging the people of Enugu state and its environs more than what is charged in other parts of the country.
Also as part of their prayers, the House charged consumers of electricity in Enugu state to stop paying electricity bills they did not consume; and that other states within the South East zone should similarly declare state of emergency on EEDC.
The House, presided over by the Speaker, Edward Ubosi set up an ad-hoc committee to hold public hearing in the three senatorial zones of the state where EEDC and NERC officials would be invited to explain why the South East zone pays the highest electricity tariff in the country even when supply was epileptic.
Protesters who displayed numerous placards with various inscriptions, had earlier called on the lawmakers, to as a matter of urgency intervene on the issue.
They also demanded the exit of the EEDC, saying the company since inception, has continued to make life unbearable for citizens of the state.
The protesters explained that they decided to cry out based on the fact that they could no longer cope with the said “outrageous billing, epileptic power supply, among other inhuman acts by the electricity distribution company.
Addressing newsmen, spokesman for the protesters, Barrister Eze Ajuluchukwu, said “we are tired of this EEDC 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 EEDC 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, are being exploited on daily basis by EEDC, and by their actions, the company is 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”
“Our industries are folding on daily basis because of no power” “We cannot take this any more, 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.