Management of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), has called for an end to hostility, assault, and brutality of their staff members by some customers.
The call came following the visit of the Chairman, EEDC Board of Trustees, Sir, Emeka Ofor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chris Ezike to one of their staff members, Arinze Attah who was allegedly brutalized and eventually hospitalized at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku Ozalla, Enugu, by an irate customer known as David Okaibe.
At UNTH, Enugu, Chris Ezike described the attack on Arinze Attah by the misguided individual as unjust, barbaric, and unacceptable, adding that whoever that inflicted that degree of injury on their staff would be brought to justice.
While speaking to the victim on his hospital bed, Chris Ezike said “whoever this culprit is, working in partnership with the police, we will bring him to justice. We are heading to Umuahia to facilitate the arrest of this culprit. What he did was callous, unacceptable to humanity, not to talk of the EEDC. If not that you used your hand, the cutlass would have landed on your head, and no one could imagine what would have happened”.
“We want to use this opportunity to appeal to our numerous customers to understand that our staff members are doing their legitimate duty which involves interpersonal engagement. It is not a fight or war. We encourage them to pay their bills as EEDC does everything to improve our services all over the five eastern states to be sure we give people the value for their money” he added.
Reacting to the increasing hostility to EEDC staff, Chris Ezike added that electricity used to be social services in Nigeria, but during privatization, some people invested their money in the sector and expected to get dividends from their investment.
“So, people have not gotten accustomed to that culture change; that, it is no longer business as usual. There are vulnerable areas where people don’t pay for electricity at all. Around Onitsha and Okpoko in Anambra state, they usually start production at the midnight, and to get them to pay we can only empower our operational regime with security protocol. The customers are our key because if we do not sell electricity, we cannot stay as a company; and in our relationship, we should avoid violence. We have a lot of good customers, but there are these few who use violence to make their point” he added.
In his words “Send my regards to Chief Emeka Offor and tell him that God almighty will reward him abundantly”.
“The incident happened at Amanda, Umuahia, Ukwuano Local government area where we went for cash drive. We approached one customer who has not paid his electricity bill. We informed the customer that they have not paid their bill and he admitted it and asked us to give him few more minutes to source money. While waiting; the customer came out and told us that he has only four thousand naira to pay. I encouraged him to pay in full because the company doesn’t accept underpayment any longer. While we were discussing, his brother came out with a cutlass. I heard someone shouting run; before I could turn back; the cutlass was already landing on my head, I used my hand to protect my head, he explained”.
Meanwhile, the Head of Communication, EEDC, Emeka Ezeh noted that EEDC has always embarked on sensitization and engagement with the customers, but some are yet to understand that they need to pay for the electricity.
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“As a business, we pay to import this energy, and once the energy is distributed, we expect that the customers whom we serve pay their bills, and that’s the only way we can improve on our infrastructure. And there are still some customers who are still finding it difficult to come to term with bill payment” he added.
Meanwhile, with the degree of injury inflicted on Arinze Attah; it is expected that EEDC will ensure that he gets justice, and the culprit brought to book.