Onitsha: An Onitsha, Anambra State based human rights group, The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, “The” ttyygy
Intersociety, is mobilizing other civil society groups in the South-East to ensure that the takeover of Electricity Distribution in the region from the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC by Prof Barth Nnaji’s Geometric Power Limited.
Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi, the group’s Board of Trustees Chairman, in a statement issued on Wednesday explained that the move was predicated on the abysmal failure of EEDC in providing electricity to consumers in the South-East region.
The statement reads:
“The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law has concluded arrangements with other proactive and engaging Rights and Social Justice Advocacy groups in Anambra State and beyond, including the Southeast Zone of the Civil Liberties Organization and the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights and Democracy Organizations to kick-start sustained campaigns for purpose of collapsing the activities of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) in Anambra State and taking over by another competent and viable energy provider of all its assets and liabilities including its distribution substations located in its six districts of Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, Ekwulobia, Ogbaru and Ogidi.
Intersociety is also strongly calling on the incoming Governor of the State, Prof Charles Soludo to not only prioritize this in his policy direction for the governance of the State but also put machinery in place to constitute a technical team or committee to that effect. This is because it has been forensically investigated and found that the incoming Governor’s industrial and technological dreams for the State will never be realized or achieved as long as EEDC and its unchallenged monopoly and incompetence are continued and allowed.
The EEDC, no doubt, has chronically become incompetent, locomotive and incorrigible.
Prof Barth Nnaji’s Geometric Energy As Favorable Alternative
For too long or in the past seven years, the EEDC had enjoyed ‘a monopoly of the graveyard’ in the Southeast and was incompetently allowed to takeover and pocket 18 Business Districts of: Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, Ekwulobia, Ogbaru and Ogidi in Anambra State; Awkunanaw, Abakpa, Nsukka and Ogui in Enugu State; Owerri, Mbaise, Orlu and New Owerri in Imo State; Ariaria, Aba and Umuahia in Abia State; and Abakiliki in Ebonyi State. The licensing of the power distribution to EEDC by Federal Government of Nigeria was as a result of the Electricity Reforms Act of 2005 which unbundled the then “Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)” into eleven distribution companies, one Transmission Company and six Generation Companies.
All the hopes of transforming the Southeast into leading sub-national industrial hub of Nigeria have been chronically dashed and the Region fallen from bad to worst in the hands of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company. However, a consolation and hope recently came to the fore for the industrialists and other power consumers in Ariaria and Aba parts of Abia State-a leading industrial hub of the Southeast Region when the Aba and Ariaria Power Distribution Districts belonging to EEDC was excised and handed over to Prof Barth Nnaji’s Geometric Energy/Power.
Prof Barth Nnaji is a renowned Physicist/Engineer who also holds Masters and PhD in Engineering. During his career, he created the term “Geometric Reasoning” (the idea that most things we operate have a geometric configuration). He was also credited as one of the innovators of the “E-Design Concept” and had served as Minister of Energy and Power under President Goodluck Jonathan. He also developed the “Aba Integrated Power Project and presently the CEO of Geometric Energy”.
On 17th Feb 2022, according to an Abia State based leading human rights and social justice advocacy group, the Initiative for Ideal Development and Emancipatory Leadership in Nigeria (IDEAL-NIGERIA) in a statement issued on 18th February 2022; there was a successful handover of Aba and Ariaria Districts, two areas formerly under the management of EEDC to Geometric Power in a brief ceremony held in Abuja under the auspices of the Office of Bureau for Public Enterprise-BPE on Thursday, 17th Feb 2022. The leading Rights and Good Governance group recalled that the Geometric Power worth over $500M and had built four new substations and over 140 kilometers of new lines and has capacity to generate 141 megawatts of electricity. The group further informed that out of $50M provided by Afri-Exim Bank, $26M was used for settlement in terms of acquisition and related others while the remaining $24M should be used to improve the existing infrastructure and further expansion of the current networks.
We hereby commend the Geometric Power and congratulate the citizens and residents of Aba and Ariaria for this innovative initiative and call on the incoming Anambra Governor to borrow a leaf and replicate same in the State.
Sins Of EEDC In The Southeast
The sins of EEDC against the People of the Southeast Region are innumerable. For instance, by the Act of Nigeria’s National Assembly establishing the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission-NERC (the Electric Power Reforms Act of 2005), all the country’s Electricity Distribution Companies including EEDC are barred from mandating or compelling customers/consumers to “buy or repair or replace materials use in the supply of electricity”. The materials prohibited from being procured or repaired or replaced by consumers are also known as “electric distribution transformers and their accessories”. But in practice, the law is recklessly observed in breach by EEDC and its management staffers from its feeder units to its top management staffers who label same as “written permission to donate materials to EEDC”. The sharp practice is perpetrated through the so called “consumers’ electricity committees or welfare bodies” scattered across places where distribution transformers are located. This is to the extent that over 90% of distribution transformers in the Southeast are either those inherited by EDDC from moribund PCHN or those procured by consumers and politicians. Same goes for their installation and maintenance or servicing. EEDC engineers are hardly deployed to site to fix faulty transformers or instal new ones. This is done through the use of hired and paid “EEDC Contractor-engineers mobilized and paid in most cases by consumers. Consumers with complaints of faulty transformers or power blackout emanating from faulty transformers or lack of maintenance of same are told to put it in writing and wait for “due procedure” which can last for months or a year and above. This is usually a trick designed to compel them to agree to the shoddy practices above mentioned.
As a matter of fact, EEDC has been milking its consumers dry in the Southeast with its statutory duties including corporate social responsibilities almost totally abandoned and shifted to the consumers. It is also an incontestable fact that all distribution transformers and their procured accessories procured by politicians and consumers have been indented and claimed by EEDC as “its properties”. Issuance of outrageous bills to consumers and delays in issuing them with prepaid meters are other major sins of EEDC. Through massive discontinuation, criminal penalties are imposed by its field staffers who also invade the homes of those prepaid metered and accuse them of “meter tempering”-all with intent to heavily extort them.
There are also no verifiable records of EEDC expanding and upgrading its networks since 2005 so as to level up or surpass the citizens’ energy pressures and demands. EEDC warehouses are hardly stocked with spare transformers and their accessories including armored cables, feeder pillar units, fuses, transformers’ oil, “J & Ps”, ganger accelerators, art cables, etc and its top management staffers also hardly respond to public complaints against its activities and those of its field staffers. The Company hardly investigates and takes action when called upon to do so. Even when its field and management staffers derail and misconduct, they are allowed to go scot-free to become “repeat-perpetrators”. The Company’s management staffers brazenly exhibit carefree or lukewarm attitudes and derive joy in plunging its consumers in total darkness under frivolous and flimsy excuses.
A Case Of Ogbaru Network District.
Sometime in 2020, the entire consumers using ‘Atani 33 Feeder Line’ comprising hundreds of thousands and hundreds of users in industrial categories were plunged into total darkness for about one month and reason given was that “Julius Berger Company mistakenly felled down some electric poles and cut off some underground cables”. On 28th Jan 2022, the area and its environs were again thrown into total darkness for over three weeks and the reason given was that “the fire that gutted a part of Ogbaru Relief Market also torched some electric poles and their high tension wires”. Power supply was restored three weeks following our outcry.
Not done, on 27th February 2022, the Ogbaru Network Manager, Engineer Steven Uzodimma and his management staff again plunged the same area and its environs into total darkness for over two weeks running claiming that “Julius Berger Company cut off its underground armored cables” and that “the Company is following due process”. The open market worth of the required meters of the affected armored cable is much less than N500, 000 and as we write, there is no presence of any EEDC field staff or its management at the site since then. These are just to mention but a few.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche, Obianuju Igboeli & Chidimma UdegbunamFor: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Contacts: Phone/WhatsApp: +23474090052, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: https://intersociety-ng.org