A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Wadata Media and Advocacy Centre (WAMAC), has challenged Nigerians, particularly electricity consumers, to join the fight against corruption in the power sector of the country.
At a Townhall meeting held at the weekend in Akure, the Ondo state capital, WAMAC, with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, decried how the electricity distribution companies (Discos) in the country had been defrauding Nigerians through “estimated billings and metering manipulations.”
The group noted that since the privatization of the electricity sector in the year 2014, the new helmsmen of the Electricity Distribution Companies have “crowned themselves emperors and untouchable” by short-changing consumers.
Addressing the participants at the Townhall meeting, the group’s Executive Director/Project Manager, Mr Zubair Abdurra’uf Idris, said service delivery in Nigeria has been generally on leap service state due to ‘monumental corruption’ mostly in the electricity sector.
He explained that although the new government of President Bola Tinubu had signed an act that would reduce the monopoly of the Electricity Distribution Agency, Nigerians are still facing hell in the hands of Disco’s management.
“But this is not enough, until all the EDCs account for the monumental fraud they committed, particularly putting businesses and people into darkness,” Mr Zubair said.
While urging Nigerians to demand accountability in all spheres of the country’s sector, the WAMAC director revealed that the group has continued to embark on sensitisation to help expose the fraud in the power sector and promote good governance.
In his presentation at the town hall meeting, a guest lecturer and National Secretary of the Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network (NECAN), Mr Eket Obonga, stated that the Electricity Distribution Companies were engaging in massive sharp practices and corruption through the metering system and billing of consumers.
Obonga, who spoke on the theme, “Issues of Systematic Corruption In Public And Private Sectors: A Deep Dive Into Electricity Sector In Ondo State”, revealed that the action of the DisCos has resulted in a huge loss on the consumers and the entire market value chain.
“Customers who are victims of this multifaceted robbery develop apathy in the settlement of monthly invoices thereby whittling down sector revenues.
“Also, the customers continue to lose huge sums of money to the Discos through these fraudulent practices that have continued unabated,” he added.
While proffering a solution to the ongoing menace in the electricity sector, Mr Obonga said it was high time to embark on massive consumer awareness drive to educate the larger segment of the population to end the “evil corruption” in the Discos before it spread its tentacles.
Daily Trust report that the town hall meeting drew participants from the CSOs, media, community-based organisations, religious and community leaders, market women associations, PWDs, NOA, security agencies and among several others.
Part of the resolution reached by the participants at the end of the town hall meeting through a communique signed by WAMAC Executive Director/Project Manager, Mr Zubair Abdurra’uf Idrisz was to fast-track the fight against corruption through community participation. This includes; “Community leaders and participants called on the people to take the menace of corruption in all sectors with utmost seriousness.
It, however, advised participants to grow beyond Town Hall meetings to be ambassadors of anti-corruption in the country.