oko-oba-protesters

On the last day of January, members of the Oko-oba community in Agege, Lagos state protested against “4 months of no electricity” and exploitation being perpetrated by the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKDC).

The protest started with protesters assembling at Church bus stop, Oko-oba by 8am. They commenced demonstration with protest songs on the streets led by Comrade Funmi Ajayi, Cordinator, Community for Women Initiatives (CWI).

The mass gathered moved through the Oko-oba road with posters and more solidarity songs. A resident of the community who participated in the protest and identified himself as James told Socialist Worker that “we have not been enjoying light here for several months now. Yet, IKDC is busy distributing huge bills and hiking tariffs.”

Another protester, Iya Ade, said “people need to stand up for their rights and put a stop to this nonsense.”

It is instructive that since the privatisation of power in Nigeria, electricity generation and supply has continued to be terrible and probably gone from being very bad to exceedingly worse. Poor working class people continue to live in almost absolute darkness while crazy electricity bills have become the norm.

In response to the protest, the IKDC Disctrict Manager, Mrs Casta pleaded that the epileptic power supply was as a result of cables stolen by thieves. In an attempt to convince the protesters that this was really an issue, the district manager showed pictures of a few apprehended thieves on her phone.

She promised an improved service when the repairs have been effected saying this will be in the shortest possible time. The protesters rallied back, promising to stage another demonstration if the issues persisted. The DM was forced to apologise. The experience was very empowering for members of the community on the demonstration

As the protesters barely settled back home, power was restored for the next 5 hours!

If we fight, we might win, but if we don’t, we have lost.

by Lukman Fasugba