- Residents of Abuja satellite town have expressed their agony over the operations of the Abuja Electric Distribution Company (AEDC)
- Operations of the AEDC have been greeted with numerous criticism ranging from lack of proactiveness, lack of maintenance of residents' electric facilities, and bumper electric bill
- Some of the residents alleged that the electric distribution company claims ownership of transformers purchased by them and also leaves the maintenance responsibility to them
FCT, Abuja – Abuja is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Nigeria and perhaps, the most beautiful in Africa.
The nation's capital is surrounded by natural hills and rocks and boasts of a landmass of about 1,769 km².
Nigeria's capital comprises the city centre which includes Asokoro, Maitama, Central Business District, Aso Drive, Utako, Jabi, Life-camp, and others, and the satellite towns including Gwarinpa, Kubwa, Dutsen Alhaji, Bwari, Galadima, Dawaki, Usuma Dam, Kagini, Lugbe and a host of others.
The nation's capital has recently witnessed a massive influx of people following the trend of rural-urban migration.
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Consequently, most average residents live in satellite towns. While some live in their personal apartments, others live in rented apartments.
But developmental projects in the nation's capital are concentrated mainly in the city centre, leaving the majority of residents in satellite towns to fix their communities without the government's assistance.
Legit.ng observes that residents fix their roads, sink boreholes and ensure their communities are connected to the national grid. Investigation reveals that it's a near-total absence of the government's presence.
In this report, Legit.ng takes a trip to most satellite towns in Abuja to investigate how residents battle to connect electricity on their own without AEDC assistance.
Some group of landlords behind Dunu told Legit.ng that the issue of electricity distribution in Abuja is a major one. According to the landlords who preferred to speak off camera so they are not victimized, AEDC had no idea how they got their transformers.
A landlord said:
"We should be talking about power supply and not its distribution. AEDC has failed in that regard. I know for a fact that majority of residents in FCT buy their own transformers by themselves.
"We have written letters on several occasions regarding replacement of transformers and they didn't act until we were able to buy one. And we even had to buy other materials needed for its installation. Go round and check. This happens everywhere.
Around Charlyboy's bus stop in Gwarinpa, the residents admitted that AEDC actually installed their transformer, but has left its maintenance completely to them.
One Mr Peter told Legit.ng that:
"Yes, they installed this one, but there are many other transformers within the estate that landlords had to contribute money to buy. Even this one, its maintenance is entirely in the hands of the landlords. Most times we stay for days without light until we buy a particular thing that needs to be replaced in the transformer.
"Replacement of fuse, cables, and others are solely done by landlords. The question is what is the job of the AEDC? What are we paying them for?"
But our correspondent gathered that once landlords buy and install a new transformer, the AEDC would inform them that it is the property of the company.
At Ushafa, our correspondent saw some letters written to the AEDC on the installation of their transformer without any response.
A community leader and an ex-chairman of the community who pleaded not to be mentioned told Legit.ng that the very first transformer and all installation materials were bought by the community including the poles and the cables.
"We lived here for years without electricity. We wrote a series of letters to AEDC, then NEPA, but no response. We had to raise money individually to buy a transformer. We had to also buy poles, cables, and others for its installation.
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"But immediately that was done, AEDC took over as the owners. Once it's time for major maintenance, they will relinquish ownership to us."
Another community leader told Legit.ng that there has been a push to install a second transformer in the community but AEDC has refused to act. He said letters have been written to them but that, unfortunately, the company complains of paucity of funds to acquire new transformers.
"Right now, the installation process is currently on, but the AEDC is not contributing anything to it. In fact, the issue is not even about buying a transformer because we already have one on ground. The issue is to install the transformer, but we have been given a bill of nearly N6 million for the installation. We have contributed between N10,000 to N20,000 each and the installation process has commenced, but we are not sure we can complete the project. It's sad.
"The irony is that at the end, the company will claim ownership and we will still pay for light bills. What a country!"
Legit.ng learnt that several letters have been sent to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, over AEDC mode of operations, the reason the commission issued a recent statement stopping residents from buying transformers and meters.
FCCPC treating petitions against AEDC
Legit.ng correspondent sighted some petitions being treated by the FCCPC.
A source at the commission told Legit.ng that several petitions have been received and an investigative team are working round the clocks to come up with a position.
Legit.ng reaches out to AEDC
But when Legit.ng made effort to reach Mr Fadipe, AEDC General Manager, Communication to react to the development, he disclosed via a text message that he no longer works for the organization and as such he cannot speak for them.
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Legit.ng gathered that Mr Fadipe may have been affected by the recent sack of some of the company's managers.
Efforts to reach the manager who currently speaks for the company failed as at press time.
FCCPC sends message to DISCOS
Recall that the FCCPC had issued a statement stopping customers from buying transformers and pre-paid meters as it's the sole responsibility of the distribution companies, DISCOS, to provide equipment for proper power distribution.
It ordered DISCOS to refund consumers if a community shoulders such a responsibility.
Legit.ng gathered that despite the warning, pre-paid meters are being sold to customers and residents are bearing the cost of transformers and their installations.
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Meanwhile, Federal government of Nigeria has announced plans to build a nuclear power plant to address the country's electrical challenges.
Deals have already been inked with Russia and Pakistan to train Nigerians on how to effectively run the proposed power plant.