Residents of Qudus Folawiyo, a serene, nondescript community in the Isolo area of mainland Lagos, didn’t see a flicker of electricity throughout the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Between December 2022 and January 2023, the community has only been handed 2 hours of electricity for their troubles.
“Ikeja electricity distribution company has forgotten about us completely,” says Nwachukwu Okezie, who moved into the marbled street a year ago, and tells Quest Times that he can’t wait to move out because of the poor power supply in the area.
Other areas around Qudus like Alhaji Ashiriabo, Saviours, Osolo Way etc, have been hit by similar, sustained periods of blackout by Ikeja Electric for no fault of theirs.
“We pay our bills on time and most of us are metered customers. We just don’t know why Ikeja Electric would be giving streets adjoining ours (like Akosa and Aswani) electricity while we look on in perennial darkness,” shrugs Felicia who moved into Qudus 5 years ago. “We’ve never had it this bad,” she adds.
Clement, a security personnel on Ashiriabo, tells Quest Times that there’s a history of vindictiveness behind the comparative poor power supply in the area.
“The electricity distribution company (Ikeja Electric) is punishing us because there used to be a lawyer around here who gave them grief and often dragged them to court over outrageous estimated billing and poor power supply. After the man died, all of these areas were blacklisted because of him.
“Ikeja Electric has decided to punish us all because of that man. It’s just vendetta and wickedness. How can a public company be so petty and vindictive?” Clement asks incredulously.
Other residents of Qudus Folawiyo spoken to for this story say throughout 2022, they only had a combined 24 hours of electricity.
“It’s the worst power situation we’ve ever had in an entire year,” says Madam Felicia, who makes bean cake (akara) in the area. “A lot of people have packed out of the neighborhood because of poor power supply,” she adds.
Quest Times has been reaching out to Ikeja Electric since 2022 on why this part of Isolo has been visited with blackness and outages for sustained periods.
The company’s rhetoric has always been the same: “We are working on it,” without improvements in power supply to the areas.
On July 27, 2022, a customer care Rep with Ikeja Electric named Patience, told Quest Times that “your complaint regarding power outage is being given urgent attention. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this might cause.”
Power supply never improved after this, residents of Qudus Folawiyo tell Quest Times.
“We are aware of power outage at this location and our engineers are currently working to restore power supply. Please bear with us,” Ikeja Electric wrote to Quest Times repeatedly throughout the year 2022, with no improvements in power supply to the affected communities.
“It’s like living in pre-historic times here. In the caves,” says Michael, a financial expert. “Yet we are five minutes away from the International Airport, Nigeria’s busiest. There’s no other area in Lagos that goes for 3 months without public power supply. This is the first neighborhood I’ve moved into where 5 minutes of electricity in an entire month is celebrated.”
On Saturday, January 21, 2023, a man who was having a party on Alhaji Ashiriabo, had to pay a bribe to Ikeja Electric for 5hrs of electricity to the area.
“They took the light as soon as the party was declared over,” says a shop owner.
Meanwhile, other parts of Lagos are bemoaning erratic power supply to their homes in recent times, no thanks to Ikeja Electric and Eko DisCO.
“All of Lagos is now one black city due to prolonged outages. Clearly, the distribution companies aren’t up to the task of powering Nigeria’s most populous city and commercial capital,” says Shalewa, who resides in Omole.
“And all of these, at a time of petrol scarcity.”