The growing resentment from Lagosians on estimated billing and metering issues by Ikeja Electric got to a tipping point for a Lagos resident identified as Saheed Olanrewaju after he went hard on a field staff of the distribution company by physically assaulting the personnel with bottles.
As gathered, the field staff came under attack over alleged energy theft, issues ranging from overbilling, estimated billing, metering, outrageous charges among others.
Probably angered by alleged poor services from the power company, Olanrewaja was said to have stabbed the field staff, Popoola Olakunle, on his head, in the course of duty last week at Oladeroun area, New Oko-Oba in Fagba area, Lagos.
The customer, a resident of 12, Abiodun Street, Iju-Ishaga in Fagba was said to have been apprehended on Tuesday with the assistance of the Traditional Ruler’s team and handed over to the Oko-Oba police station for immediate prosecution.
Confirming the development, the Head, Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue, said that the assaulted staff has been hospitalized and undergoing proper medical attention.
Through a statement made available to The Guild, Ofulue added that the suspect was still awaiting trial for attempted murder and that the absence of court sitting stall the trial on Friday and that the suspect would be arraigned before Ogba Magistrate Court on Monday by the Nigerian Police Force.
He, however, cautioned Lagosians against the continuous assault on IE field staff, stressing customers with complaints should approach the power company office to officially lodged their complaints rather than physically assaulting the company’s personnel.
“Ikeja Electric will continue to condemn these attacks on its employees in strong terms. While we understand that there may be sentiments regarding utility services that can be quite emotive, we maintain that wanton attacks on our staff are completely irrational, irresponsible, and unproductive, especially where Ikeja Electric has provided multiple channels through which our customers can lodge formal complaints with respect to our service. Where responses from these channels are deemed unsatisfactory, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has also set up a robust forum office for the redress of customer complaints,” he said.
“In the interest of the safety of our employees and for a harmonious relationship with our customers, Ikeja Electric will continue the deliberate engagement of all stakeholders in flashpoint areas to find ways to amicably resolve all pertinent issues of concern to its customers and communities.
“However, where these attacks persist, Ikeja Electric Plc, in line with her obligation to provide service under a conducive atmosphere to its customers, will as a matter of course, continue to escalate such matters to law enforcement agencies and will promptly withdraw its services from communities and customers that prove too hostile to operate in.
“We wish to therefore urge all stakeholders, community leaders, leaders of youth groups, and all persons of interest to remain mindful of these matters and adopt a more civil approach to engagements as all parties are deserving of reciprocal respect and regard as espoused by all laws. While there may be concerns and disputes arising from time to time, we remain committed to finding long-lasting peaceful resolutions in the equitable interests of all parties,” the statement said.