Now, who will save Nigerians from the SARS called electricity Discos?

By Editor on 24/10/2020

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If anyone, especially officials of the electricity distribution companies, otherwise known as Discos, or their collaborators in government tells you that the companies are not making profit, don’t spit in the face of that person, because it will be considered aggression and you could go to jail for that.

But be angry, angry enough to stand up and walk away. However, don’t take that walk without at least telling that person that he is a liar and how God and good men hate all foul liars. You are entitled to that and posterity will not only bear you witness, but defend you beyond here and before the King of Host, your maker and creator of heaven and earth.

For that is what they are – inveterate liars – thieves. You had Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). But here comes another SARS with a different acronym. Call them Serious Acute Renegade Stealers (SARS) and you will be right.    

Their modus operandi is the same. Both, have absolute powers - unquestionable powers – powers that leave the people completely helpless – powers with which they oppress, torture, brutilise and even kill the same people they are supposed to serve and protect. The only difference is that whilst the SARS associated with police employ the use of physical force and use their arms to shoot, maim and kill their victims, their Discos counterpart, employ the tactics of gradual economic asphyxiation to squeeze the life out of their victims.

However, the motive is also the same – money. They are both fired by the same engine – greed, absolute, unquenchable, insatiable greed. You would think that a policeman could stop if he got millions from their victims. But you heard how the parents of one of the Awkuzu SARS victims, Chijioke Iloanya, paid in millions to free their son. They sold all they had and paid in millions of naira just to free their 22-year-old son, which all came to naught. They would have kept paying today to the insatiable SARS officials, if they did not get words that their son had been killed. That’s how wicked and greedy the police SARS were.

But the Discos SARS are no different. Kunle Joseph, who lives in a flat at Victor Odunaiya Street, Iju-Ishaga shares a similar fate. In 2015, he landed a job that paid him N52,000. Out of this salary, he was paying N2,000. He was complaining that the bill was too much. But by 2017, the same bill began to fluctuate between N3,500 to N4,000. He was off and on at the Iju-Ishaga office of the Ikeja Electricity Company (IKDC) to complain of high bill.

But nobody listened to him. But the greatest shock came in January, 2020, when he got a bill of N11,857.50. He thought it was a huge joke. He again rushed to the office of the IKDC. After making all the noise, the officials checked his bill and compared it with what his co-tenants were paying and discovered that the next highest paying tenant was charged N4,000. Do you know his offence? He had no metre. Actually there is a metre in his flat, but it was malfunctioning and he had been at their office countless times to come and fix it all to no avail. Rather, he was placed on estimation.

The only solution they could offer him is that he should go and get a metre. He had since applied for a pre-paid metre, but has not got as much as a reply ever since. Last month, September, he was slammed with a bill of 17,000. Mind you, his salary has not changed from the N50,000.

Now, take away N17,650 from N50,000, what do you have left? Just N32,350! That’s what he has remaining for him and his family. Now who is he going to run to? He has written a letter to the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the only agency he believes would help him, but not a single word has come from them in reply.

His saviour seems to be the current #EndSARS protest rocking the country, which has restricted movements in all parts of Lagos. Else, the workers of the electricity company would have visited his compound. Today, he would have been in permanent darkness because there is no way he could remove such a huge amount of money from his salary to pay electricity alone.

Remember that in 2015 when he got his job, a bag of rice was just N8,000, a sizable tuber of yam was just N200 and so on. Today the same bag of rice is N28,000 while the same size of yam is N1,000. So how does he balance it and live, since his salary has not changed?

There are millions of Josephs all over the country at the moment. They are faced with the same dilemma of the Discos SARS. The implication is that the Josephs of this world cannot make bulk purchase of any perishable good, either of tomatoes or meat, which saved them some money. They will no longer cook soup and preserve in the fridge or freezer after the disconnection of their electricity, which is going to be the next line of action as a punishment. Who will save them?

A friend of Joseph, Dapo, who runs a business centre was slammed with N33,000 bill in July up from N8,000. Out of annoyance, he asked them to disconnect him, which they quickly obliged. The following month, he got a bill of N37,000. That was in August. September was N36,000. This was despite the suspension of supply. He bought fuel for the period but discovered that there was no much difference as the problem was not only that the amount he spent on fuel was slightly higher, he had to contend with constant repairs of generators, which could not power some of his appliances needed for his business.

He had gone back to ask that he be reconnected, and he was told that until he paid fully for the initial N33,000, and the N73,000 for the months he didn’t use power. Dapo, has just secured an Okada from one of his brothers. This was a man that was previously fairly comfortable with his business, which was thriving and providing a lot of succour for his many customers.

Together with the government, they tell you that they are not making. But that is a lie. They did not break even from day one of their operation, but they are making tremendous profits.

The problem is that if the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Eko Distribution Company (EKDC), learns that the son of his IKDC counterpart has acquired the latest yacht and is currently on a cruise in Indian Ocean, he would not rest until he acquires one for his son also. Or the one in Benin hears that the latest Rolls Royce is now in the garage of his Enugu counterpart, he goes to acquire same.

Of course, the sustenance of such a lavish lifestyle could only come from one source – the electricity cash-cow. It doesn’t matter for them, what happens to the masses, the geese that lay the golden egg. Let them continue to lay the eggs regardless of the state. As they become famished out of poor feeding, wither and die, another egg will hatch and other geese will grow and sustain the circle and the beat goes.

So, even if government gives them all the revenues accruing from the country in form of bailouts, as have been done before, they will still not break even like the police SARS, which continued to ask for more. For them there will never be enough, because it is all about greed, a human condition that can never be assuaged.

Unfortunately they have their grounds covered adequately. The government you are supposed to run to, when not asleep is a willing collaborator. Each of the officials along the way is covered in the sharing arrangement. If not, in which other part of the world would electricity tariff that was just about N2,000 climb to N17,000-N20,000 in less than five years. So, on what basis would #EndSARS protest abate? Who will save Nigerians from the DISCOS?        



Posted on October, 24 2020

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