Ikeja Electric, Nigeria’s largest power distribution company has decried the increasing spate of violent attacks against its staff.
Citing the recent malicious incident at Akowonjo, Lagos, where an aggrieved woman allegedly stabbed a staff of Ikeja Electric, who was discharging his official duties, the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Felix Ofulue, expressed shock at the level of violence and antipathy towards staff of electricity companies.
“It is quite disheartening that a customer will resort to such levels of violence under any circumstance, to express her grievance without even considering the enormity of the action, which could have easily resulted in murder if the staff had died. This is appalling and totally unacceptable” he said.
He noted that on a frequent basis, the field staff are attacked by aggrieved customers on matters which are completely beyond the control of the DisCo, such as the worsening power situation in the country.
He also pointed out the company has created several channels for aggrieved customers to present their complaints, but rather some chose to vent their anger on the workers, which is criminal.
In his words: “Some of the issues they are complaining about are beyond our control. For instance, there is poor power supply, which is as a result of certain known challenges that cuts across the value chain and we are the last arm of the chain. These challenges are beyond our control, so there is no point directing your anger at any of our staff because they are also customers of a network where they reside”.
He further explained that the aggression on the part of the customers was misdirected since the DisCo can only distribute the allocation it gets from the national grid. He further cautioned that any customer who attacks any IE staff will be made to face the law.
“We are appealing to customers to exercise patience and restraint. We are also appealing to community leaders to sensitize their people towards this as anyone who attacks our staff will face the full wrath of the law” he warned.
Ofulue noted that in spite of the legacy challenges, a lot of improvements have been put in place by the Disco to ensure the customers experience efficient customer service delivery.
“A lot of initiatives are currently being put in place to ensure improvements in our service and they are already yielding results. All we ask is for customers to be patient and not take laws into their hands by destroying assets and attacking staff.”
While commending the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and the Nigeria Police for their timely intervention in cases of violence against staff, Ofulue called on communities in its network to work closely with IE, assuring that the company has created platforms for continued dialogue on how to improve relations with host communities.