. . . Vows to Resist Intimidation
By Michael-Jude Nwolisa
A rights activist group under the aegis of Recover Nigeria Project has lamented the saddening epileptic power supply in Anambra State capital, Awka and environs; the continual use of estimated billing and the non-provision of prepaid meters by the Enugu Electricity Distribution PLC (EEDC), reports Michael-Jude Nwolisa.
The founder of Recover Nigeria Project, Comrade Osita Obi, in an exclusive chat with Fides, revealed that the group was out to publicly protest and call the attention of the Federal Government to the epileptic power supply in Awka and what Anambra people were going through.
Comrade Obi explained that he had earlier written a letter to EEDC on March 20, 2019, demanding that EEDC stopped estimated billing, distributed prepaid meters and delivered a better power supply to Awka as the state capital.
'I made it clear to them in the letter that if our demands were not met within a month before April 20, I would rally the entire business community in Awka to occupy EEDC premises and demand for the revocation of their license,' he said.
Fides also gathered that the intended “Awka Electricity Walk” to EEDC office as earlier planned to hold on May 10, 2019 by Comrade Obi, was halted by a court order stopping them from occupying EEDC office and a police order demanding a total call-off of the rally.
'I was served a court order with respect to the ''Awka Electricity Walk'' slated for May 10, 2019. The court order demanded that we should neither walk to EEDC office nor occupy it to disrupt their operations. When we later decided to restrict our walk to Ekwueme Square, the police instructed that we call it off entirely. On the set day, policemen entirely barricaded Ekwueme Square and we could not hold the walk as planned,' Comrade Obi narrated.
Speaking further, the rights activist explained that EEDC later filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja against him; the chairperson of Academic Staff Union of Universities, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Chapter, Comrade Stephen Ufoaroh; the National Director of Sports for National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone B, Awka Chapter, Comrade Chiedozie Ojiaku; the Inspector General of Police, among others; demanding 100 million Naira for damages, on the grounds that our attempt to organize the Awka Electricity Walk affected their business.
'But from the injunction they brought earlier, I have not infringed on any law because it was very explicit. The injunction said I should not walk to EEDC office to disrupt their operations or occupy it, so I have not infringed on any law,' Comrade Obi submitted.
The Federal High Court, Abuja, Fides learnt, recently declined jurisdiction over the matter filed by the EEDC against Comrade Osita Obi and other defendants, ordering a transfer of the suit to the Enugu Division of the Federal High Court. It was gathered that the Counsel to the 1st defendant, Seprebofa M. Oyeghe Esq, had earlier filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection, challenging the Court's jurisdiction over the matter, stating that the suit of the Plaintiff “amounted to an offensive forum shopping and an abuse of court process”.
Agreeing with Mr. Oyeghe, the Court, presided over by Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo, declined jurisdiction over the matter, and consequently made an order transferring the suit to the Enugu Division of the Federal High Court.
Disclosing their future plans, Comrade Obi maintained that they had not given up the fight for a better life for the people, noting that the masses were visibly hurt by the epileptic power supply.
'No, we have not given up the electricity walk, because people in Ekwulobia have now invited me; Onitsha has invited me; Owerri and Nnewi have invited me as well for the same purpose. So, I cannot be intimidated by the court case against me,' Osita stated.
Comrade Obi who decried the alarming state of docility among Nigerians, urged the people to demand for what was rightfully theirs, even as he advocated for the people to engage service providers.
'I encourage them to go into civil disobedience. You don't need to pay for what you did not consume,' he stated.
Finally, rights activist, Comrade Obi called on men of conscience and public spirited individuals to support his campaign both financially and morally.
When contacted for his response, the Public Relations Officer of EEDC, Awka, Mr Emeka Eze, declined to comment on the matter, stating that it was already in court.