Estimated reading time: 36 minute(s)
Despite being located at the outskirt of Ogun state and strategically connected with Lagos state, the residents of Kajola community, Magboro, in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State have continued to live in darkness as there was no trace of electricity in the community since the beginning of its existence, SODIQ OJUROUNGBE writes about the suffering and what the community go through because of electricity.
The community which shared boundary with Ikorodu and Arepo (a popular Government Reserve Area in Lagos) has become a place of hell and agony for the residents who could not access power supply, good road and other basic amenities.
It was gathered that the community has been in existence for over 30 years as a small village known as Kajola before it later metamorphoses to becoming a new environment for middle class.
When PLATFORM TIMES visited the community, it was observed that many multi-millionaire houses have become abandoned which has made reptiles and bushes take over. A preliminary investigation revealed that the owners of the houses abandoned them when they discovered there are no traces that the community will have light in years to come.
The journey to the community from Magboro bus-stop was rough owing to the fact that the road leading to Kajola community is a nightmare to the users which was dusty and bumpy.
When this reporter got to the community, it was discovered that the Kajola community was a new developing area majorly occupied by those who work in Lagos state due to the closeness to the city of excellence.
PLATFORM TIMES reporter also observed that the Progress Community Development Association, Kajola facilitated the erection of poles at strategic locations in the community through donations made by landlords in the area, but those poles were not linked by cables, indicating abandonment due to insufficient funds.
However, findings revealed that despite all these communal efforts, power has yet to be supplied to the community as different plea to get the attention of the Ogun state government has not yielded good result.
Over 600 houses have been abandoned due to lack of power supply
When PLATFORM TIMES visiteddifferent parts of the community, it was discovered that many houses worth millions of naira have been abandoned by the occupants.
Our reporter who lost count of number of houses that have been abandoned observed that thick bushes have taken over many of the houses.
PLATFORM TIMES also observed that many houses which are at the roofing level have been abandoned as there was no sign that the owners have work on it in the last six months.
When our reporter visited the chairman of Progress CDA, Victor Adesina to ask why many of the houses have become abandoned, he revealed that not less than 600 houses have become abandoned in the community due to lack of power supply.
Adesina while speaking with PLATFORM TIMES said about 70 residents have also moved out of the community after living there for a short period of time on the basis that they cannot cope with an environment without power supply.
He also complained that many of the houses are being occupied by Hausas who live in the community.
He added, “If you see our population here, we have more than 2,000 houses here, about 60 to 70 people who have completed their house couldn’t cope with the way we were living here and they had to leave their house here behind. The Mallams are even the one sleeping in some of the houses.”
After spending six million, still no electricity
Speaking further, the CDA chairman lamented that the community continue to remain in darkness despite spending over six million on power generation.
Adesina explained that it was through community tasking that they were able to raise the money which was used in erecting poles, two transformer base and construction of a tower worth N1.7 million.
The CDA chairman however appealed to the state governor, Dapo Abiodun to intervene by giving transformer, meter cable tension poles and some accessories which will help in fast-tracking electricity coming to the area.
He said, “with my calculation, the money we have spent is equivalent to six million and still we can’t have light yet.
“There are days we task each other to pay 20,000 and sometimes, N12, 000, N15,000, that was what brought this project up to this stage.
“All we need now is a transformer, meter cable that we will use to run it and high tension poles and some accessories that is where we are left out as we have done two transformer bases.”
Community recount bad experiences
The residents of the Kajola community while speaking with PLATFORM TIMES narrated what they have went through because of the lack of power supply in the area.
The residents complained that the non-supply of electricty had worsened their living condition
They lamented that the commercial activities in the community had been paralysed as business owners were forced to abandon the community.
They further lamented that despite spending exorbitant amounts to fuel generators to power their houses, many of their children could not participate in the ongoing online classroom due to electricity.
They also appealed to the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, to intervene by providing them with electricity.
‘There has never been electricity supply since I moved here in 2001’
Adekanmi Oladotun, a resident who has been living in the community for over 19 years, he lamented that he has not even see any trace of light since he got to the community.
He added, “I have been here since 2001, that is 19 years. Our problem is light and road. As you see this road, it leads to Ikorodu in Lagos.
“We have never seen light. We use small generators. We are suffering with the small generators. It is not every time we can afford to fuel our generator.
“We beg Dapo Abiodun to help us in our community. We need light and road.”
‘My children could not partake in online classes’
Also Kennet Onyemurenko, a civil servant who works in Lagos said the residents of the community are tax payers and they should also enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Onyemurenko lamented that his children are unable to partake in the online classes going on because there was no electricity.
He added, “I have been living in this community for 3 years. This period, economically, it is not viable, because we are always buying petrol. You can see that some of the shops and houses are empty. People have stopped coming to rent shops here. People come; they stay a short period and leave again.
“During this pandemic, when other children are taking classes online, my children cannot; there is no light to charge phones. I realised it is not viable paying for the online classes when there are no resources to support it. It is difficult to live in this community without light. At a point, I thought I should leave but I cannot abandon my building like some others have done.
“We are not feeling the impact of government at federal, state, or local government level. It is really difficult and we expect government to step in because we pay our tax; we are responsible citizens and we don’t deserve being neglected.
“Imagine trying to put on your generator late in the dark and you realise the generator is faulty and the operators have closed, you would have to sleep in the dark. The volume of mosquito bite here is unbearable, since there is no light. We keep spending money on malaria. It is challenging living here.”
‘My children refused to stay with me here’
A retiree who doubled as the vice chairman of progress CDA, Mrs Francisca Nwanze complained that her children abandoned her to leave in Lagos because there is no electricity in the community.
Nwanze added, “I am a retired head teacher from Lagos state, I came to Kajola about 7 years ago and have been here in darkness, no light even my children refuse to follow me, till now I’m still alone with my grandchildren, my children are still in Lagos
“I don’t know how the government can assist us, we are suffering in silence, our wives are at home doing nothing, but if the light comes they can start selling things but now we are jobless, we are begging this administration to provide this for us. It is one of the essential commodities we need which we are being denied.
“The government should save us, the governor should listen to our cry, the rich also cry the poor is crying now, help us out.”
‘We go far distance of about 5km to get our phone charge’
A 75-year-old woman, Abosede Noah who has been living in the community for about 15 years said, “We don’t have any choice than to manage, there is no electricity and water, we were chased from our rented apartment in Lagos and that was why we came here
“We go far distance about third communities when we want to charge our phones. Our work hasn’t been going smoothly because there is no electricity supply, we were unable to buy things here, we need to go far distance before we can get things to buy.”
‘I could not do my furniture work here because of electricity’
A furniture , Pastor Adeleke who has spent over 8 years in the community lamented that he could not do his handiwork because there was no electricity.
He complained bitterly, “electricity does not allowed people to stay to start little business here and this also added to the lack of development of the community.
“Everyone can’t leave, that’s why we are still here till now. We have been seeing and hearing the benefit of electricity supply from far away but here it’s saddened because we don’t have the opportunity to use it, everything we can use the light to do we can’t, it affects the economy of the community, the standard of living of people”.
‘I spent N14,000 on servicing my generator monthly’
A retired head teacher, evangelist Magret Oladapo lamented that she spent huge money on repairing of her generator monthly.
She narrated, “I am a retired head teacher from lag is state, I have been living here for almost three years now, I have been buying petrol for light and Lagos state is not paying much for pensioner, we use more money to fuel and service generator, I did a borehole but I cannot pump water, we are suffering here.
“Last month, I spent 14,000 on generator to service it and it’s not working again, I cannot pump water, I have to trek long distance to fetch water.
“If the government can provide us with transformer, we will be happy because we have been trying, but our strength is not enough.”
Gale of ‘audio’ promises
The residents also expressed dissatisfaction over the negligence attitude of politicians in assisting them come out of the crisis in the community.
The residents complained that despite the fact that they always received different political parties during electioneering period; the politicians have abandoned them to their fate.
The CDA chairman lamented that all efforts to get the attention of the government were not successful.
He said that series of letters have been written to the government, but none was reply and no action was taken to alleviate the suffering in the community due to power supply.
He added, “We have sent a lot of delegate, a lot of letters, by Honourable Shobowale Sunday, the CDC chairman of this area.
“We have logged a lot of complaints, they came for censor of recent, I didn’t even know from that place that we have that much population.
“The letter we wrote is at the governor’s office in Oke-Mosan, I am very sure of that. It is because of the coronavirus issue that we are yet to get update.”
SA on Energy blocked PLATFORM TIMES reporter on WhatsApp
When PLATFORM TIMES contacted the Special Adviser to the governor on Energy, Lolu Adubifa to get his reaction on what the government is doing to intervene in the plight of the community, he refused to reply to the several messages sent to his personal line and Whatsapp despite reading the messages.
The Special adviser also went further to block our reporter on Whatsapp and call lines .
Every call put across to him after the first message bounced back ,they were not delivered on his Whatsapp line.
Also our reporter efforts in getting the reaction of the Special Adviser to Governor Abiodun on Public Communication, Remmy Hassan proved abortive as he refuses to reply messages sent to him.
This reporter further tried to contact Hazzan by calling his line, he also refused to pick calls and did not return the calls as of the time of filling this report.