Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



Ajegunle people under the aegis of Ajegunle People and Communities (APCs) in conjunction with the Ajeromi-Ifelodun United Interest for Justice protested at the venue of a kangaroo stakeholders’ meeting held on Wednesday 3rd, February, 2016 in Eta hotel, Apapa-Lagos by the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC). The protest was to warn the EKEDC and other DISCOs that the new electricity tariff hike introduced in February 2016 is not acceptable to the mass of the people as it is highly exploitative.

Instead of genuine community people and consumers, the purported stakeholders’ meeting was made up of the EKEDC maintenance staff drawn from Badia unit, Ajeromi unit and Sari-Igamu unit. Among them were few elements who are known to have actively worked to undermine the community struggle against poor electricity supply and crazy billing. These elements are mostly being used by EKEDC to derail community struggles against their DISCO inefficiency and supply of darkness. They do not represent the mass majority of Ajegunle residents. A stakeholders’ meeting where only staffs of the organization and few blacklegs are in attendance as customers show how fraudulent and desperate the EKEDC and other distribution companies are in their quest to enforce the implementation of the 45 percent hike.

Since March 2015 till date, there has been mass opposition to exploitative charges and particularly the tariff hike across the country. During much of last year, mass protest broke out in communities across the country. Particularly in June and then July 2015, Ajegunle people were on the streets several times to demand improved supply and abolition of crazy billing. In all of these protests, the people were clear that they would not tolerate a kobo increment. Also, there exist a subsisting court injunction of the Federal High Court secured by human right lawyer, Toluwani Adebiyi ordering the Distribution Companies and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) not to increase electricity tariff.

At the meeting, Engr. Oladele Bello Amoda, Managing Director of Eko Electricity Distribution (EKEDC), labored unsuccessfully to explain the reason for the new tariff. Infact he was forced to admit that basic conditions given for the privatization of the electricity sector are yet to be met by the distribution companies. This further confirmed our position that privatization cannot resolve the crisis in the electricity sector. Privatization means that something as important as electricity supply would be determined by the greed and profit of the DISCOs rather than the need of the people.

While addressing the protest, Comrade Moshood Oshunfurewa (DSM member) highlighted the fact that there should be concerted effort and mass protest to force a reversal of the increment. He explained that though the fixed charge has on one hand been removed due to mass struggle but on other hand they have jacked up the tariff beyond the reach of ordinary people in a country where virtually all the state governments are yet to fully implement the paltry N18, 000 national minimum wage

We of Ajegunle People and Communities appeal to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to mobilize workers and masses in workplaces and communities across the country for mass actions including strikes and protests to stop this obnoxious electricity tariff increase.