ELECTRICITY STRUGGLE AND OPPOSING ARRESTS IN AJEGUNLE
Before the illegal police arrest and detention of Mr. Joseph and four female community activists on January 25, 2023, residents of the Ajegunle communities from Tolu up to Wilmer had been organizing public meetings to build up mass resistance against estimated crazy billing and poor electricity supply.
By Ajegunle DSM reporters
Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKODISCO), the privately-owned energy distribution company serving Ajegunle and some other parts of Lagos, imposes fraudulent bills ranging from N45, 000 to N120, 000 or more depending on the structure of the compound, something not commensurate with energy consumed.
Rather than attend to the legitimate objection of the residents, the distribution company for two weeks disconnected the community from the electricity grid and they still employed the police to force residents to pay for service not rendered.
It was in response to a peaceful protest against this blatant exploitation that the five community activists were arrested and detained by the police at the behest of EKODISCO on January 25.
Following the arrest, members of Ajegunle People Movement – community campaign platform of the Democratic Socialist Movement – called on the community people to come out on to street to protest the action. As a result tens of community residents marched to the police station in anger. Unknown to us the police were lying in wait for us. As we marched towards Temidire Street, comrade Moshood, Emeka Bosah, Lateef Adam, Stella Edegwa, Gloria Aba and 5 other residents were immediately arrested. About 6 women were among those arrested at this stage.
It took the intervention of DSM comrades, and other left organizations issuing press statements and calling for an unconditional release before the six female community activists were released the same day, January 25 at about 10.23pm. Comrade Moshood and others were detained till the next day before, but following more pressure, they were released on bail. The police also planned to initiate a meeting between the community and EKODISCO to address the issue in contention. The meeting will take place on Tuesday 31, January, 2023.
Despite the arrest, the energy and spirit of the residents remain unflagging. This was demonstrated by the enthusiastic way they received us when we were released. Comrade Chinedu from the national office of the DSM and others addressed the crowd of community residents after our release emphasizing the need to be more united and struggle against electricity exploitation and all systemic injustices
A community mass meeting to plan for the meeting with EKODISCO was held on Friday 27 January 2023.