The management of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company has said that its officials properly disconnected some persistent debtor-customers in Chibiri under Kuje Area Council, contrary to the claims in an online news report published at the weekend.
The online news report titled “Abuja Residents Raise Alarm Over Alleged Fraud, Illegal Mass Disconnection By Disco,” had accused staff of Kuje Area Office of AEDC of wrongful disconnection of electricity customers in Chibiri Community and of “extorting money from the customers without remitting it to the company even as they still go ahead to disconnect the same consumers”.
In a press statement issued by Ahmed Shekarau, the Head of Public Relations and Media of the Company, the AEDC stated that the allegations contained in the online news report were not only false but also misleading and a spirited attempt at forcing AEDC to reconnect a journalist and also tarnish the reputation of the Company by casting aspersions on some of its staff who disconnected the journalist.
According to the statement, following the publication of the online report, the AEDC management investigated the allegations and discovered that the writer is a persistent debtor-customer who was disconnected on account of outstanding electricity bills of over N47,000, which he has been owing for several months.
The statement further revealed that the management’s investigation revealed that the journalist, Yusuf Ozi-Usman, had actually approached Shekarau and solicited the latter’s intervention to get his personal house reconnected by its Kuje Area Office.
The statement disclosed further that the AEDC spokesman had intervened on the ground that the journalist will meet his own part of the agreement by settling the balance of his outstanding debt on or before the end of last month.
Shekarau said unfortunately, Ozi-Usman did not meet his own side of the agreement, hence he was not reconnected.
He alleged that in an attempt to arm-twist the company, he resorted to the immoral use of the opportunity of the pen to tarnish the image of the AEDC.
The statement also noted an allusion to a purported petition addressed to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Consumer Protection Council in which the Chibiri Community allegedly accused AEDC officials of “illegally” disconnecting paying and non-paying customers, including those who have prepaid meters in their homes and business premises.
The Company said at no time did the journalist draw the attention of its spokesman or any other staff to the purported petition and urged the authors to come forward and own up to the petition and engage with staff of its customer complaints unit for resolution of their complaints, unless the petition is a phantom one that exists only in the imagination of the journalist.
The AEDC said as a Company, it has tremendous respect for the media, whose partnership it cherishes towards building a viable power sector for Nigeria.
“However, we wish to state that we will not succumb to obvious intimidation and blackmail by any member of such a valued stakeholder,” the statement stated.