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General News of Thursday, 30 September 2021

Source: www.vanguardngr.com

'We’ve been living in darkness for 4 months' - Osun communities lament

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Residents and business owners in the six communities of Ife-North Local Government Area of Osun State have lamented the lack of electricity supply in the towns for about four months.

The affected communities are Ipetumodu, Edunabon, Moro, Yakooyo, Asipa and Akinlalu.

Despite the location of a 7.5MVA substation at Moro, the communities have been without electricity supply for about four months, thereby resulting in hardship for students, artisans, petty traders and residents.

Several higher institutions are located in the council area, including, Obafemi Awolowo University’s Distance Learning Centre in Moro, Oduduwa University, in Ipetumodu, Foreign Links College of Health Technology, Moro. The situation has created a dense student population in the communities.

Students protest power outage

Recently, students of higher institutions and residents in the communities embarked on a peaceful protest to register their grievances against the blackout.

Their spokesperson, Oludare Akinola, disclosed that the situation has made study hectic for them and their younger ones in secondary schools around the communities.

Akinola said: “We are tired of the present situation in the communities. For four months now we have not had a minute of electricity supply in any of the towns.

“Besides, the difficulty it subjected us to about study, living daily has become an issue. We are here to say enough is enough. Every concerned authority should, as a matter of urgency, provide a solution to the situation before it becomes a crisis.”

Blackout increasing insecurity - Community leaders

Meanwhile, leaders of the various communities in a chat with Vanguard said the four months blackout has, apart from making living difficult for residents, encourages insecurity in the affected towns.

Speaking through the President of Ipetumodu Progressive Union, Dr Sunday Oyebowale said the 7.5MVA transformer sub-station at Moro has packed up and is also no longer adequate for the populace in the areas.

Oyebowale said: “It is very sad and disheartening to note that communities in Ife-North Local Government Area has been experiencing total blackout for four months now and nothing has been done by Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, to alleviate our problem.

“The blackout has been encouraging kidnapping of people, as we know that when there is no light, it is easy to perpetrate different types of crime. The non-supply of electricity has encouraged theft in the communities. At Asipa community, a shop was looted by thieves who took advantage of the darkness; this same problem had been reported in many areas in the local government.

“Our economic activities have been paralysed as people using electricity for their businesses; find it very difficult to transact their businesses. This needs urgent attention so that society will not become desolate. Ife-North has been known for peace but this absence of light has made it to be a lawless society where different people just come into the Local Government unchallenged at night. Our state government and the IBEDC must make sure that positive steps are taken before things go out of hand.

“People, who deal with frozen food businesses, are suffering because there is no electricity to freeze their foods and many of them have turned to debtors due to the damage of their wares like fish, turkey and meat of all kinds. Artisans like welders, hairdressers and electricians are suffering because of a lack of electricity supply. “We have written several letters to the State Government and the IBEDC even to their main office in Ibadan but nothing has been done. We are urging people in authority and the Federal Government to stand up and assist us so that we won’t continue to suffer.”

Artisans lament

Also lamenting, chairman of the Welders Association in Ife North, Lateef Osunshina said the blackout has completely crippled their business

Osunshina said: “We have no electricity to use for our businesses. This has affected us greatly to the extent that feeding our family and other responsibilities have been difficult. Some of our members have abandoned their workshops for farming and commercial motorcycle business. We have lost millions due to this blackout. We are fed up.

“We appeal to the state government and the management of IBEDC to, as a matter of urgency, rescue the communities from economic difficulties”.

Also, Chairman, Electronic Technicians Association in the council, Bamidele Oladele, said feeding their families has become a major challenge because they could not work due to the blackout.

“This lack of electricity has affected our work in so many ways. Feeding has become a problem for our members. We are as good as being jobless because we need electricity in our line of business.

“This issue of blackout has led to increasing in robbery, joblessness, poverty. Not all of us can afford to use generators.”

However, the management of IBEDC, while appealing to the communities to be patient over the situation, disclosed that the 7.5MVA substation has not packed up.

The Senior Communication Officer, Owoeye Kikelomo said the facility was faulty and a contractor was engaged to repair it.

Kikelomo said: “The substation is not overloaded or packed up as alleged, the transformer developed fault and effort is on to get it back online.

“We appreciate the patient of the communities and their cooperation all the while, but I am ensuring them that the company is doing everything possible to return electricity supply to the areas.”

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