Wadata Media and Advocacy Centre (WAMAC) an NGO, with the support of MacArthur Foundation, held a Town Hall Meeting to amplify the Fight against Corruption in Local Languages with a theme: “Systemic Corruption in Public and Private Sectors: A Deep Dive Into Electricity Sector in Kwara State” held on the 22nd of July, 2023, at NUJ Guest Centre opposite St. Anthony secondary school, Ilorin, Kwara State.

Participants were drawn from the Media, Civil Society Organizations, Community-Based Organizations, Religious and Community leaders as well as the National Orientation Agency {NOA}, EFCC, ICPC, Market Women Association and People With Disabilities (PWDs).

The town hall meeting identified the following conduits for corruption:

  1. Overbilling: with the largest number of electricity consumers off-grid, the room for IBEDC staff to perpetuate nefarious acts against citizens is very wide.
  2. Extortion from consumers: Most field officers of IBEDC are Adhoc staff who extort unsuspecting electricity consumers for their personal benefits
  3. Shifting official responsibilities to the consumers who are either communities or individuals investing in electricity infrastructures such as transformers, poles, wires, etc. without any plan from IBEDC to refund the monies spent.
  4. Malfunctioning of prepaid meter that cannot pick low voltage resulting into meter entering into tempered code.
  5. The tariff band is a major conduit for corruption as there is no basis for having a different Band when in actual fact the electricity supply to all the Tariff bands is comatose.
  6. Service-based tariff: IBEDC has failed to adhere to service-based tariff by not providing expected hours of power supply expected on the tariff band being charged to consumers.

At the end of the Town Hall meeting the following resolutions were made to fast-track the Fight Against Corruption through Community Participation as follows:-

  1. The Town Hall meeting commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for signing into law an Act to reduce the monopoly of electricity Generation, Distribution, and Renewable energy.
  2. Community leaders and participants called on the people to take the menace of corruption in all sectors with utmost seriousness.
  3. There must be continuous and massive free distribution of pre-paid meters across the state to reduce the issues of fraud in estimated billing.
  4. IBEDC must stop using Adhoc staff as field officers to curb extorting. There is a need for routine maintenance on electricity infrastructure to limit incessant damages and save the consumers from constantly contributing monies for infrastructure repairs/purchases. 
  5. The meeting called for more awareness on the manipulations by Electricity Distribution Companies (IBEDC’s) particularly the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) on estimated billings and metering manipulations to defraud electricity consumers.
  6. Participants of the Town Hall meeting called for effective regulation of the electricity sector by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to curtail excesses by the Electricity Distribution Companies on estimated billings.
  7. The meeting urged Community Based Organizations (CBO’s), Journalists and the society to report alleged corrupt practices and extortions by Electricity Distribution Companies to NERC and anti-corruption agencies.
  8. Participants observed the level of extortion by EDC’s and called for investigation and intervention of refunds for purchase of transformers and accessories by consumers as demanded by DISCO’s.
  9. The meeting called on citizens to be more proactive in taking responsibility to engage the DISCO either through constituting committees to conduct research and use findings to engage IBEDC or town hall meeting.
  10. The participants denounced malpractices of Distribution Companies (DISCO’s) on metering by asking consumers to pay for PREPAID meters or repairs of faulty or obsolete meters.
  11. Finally, the meeting urged participants to grow beyond Town Hall meetings to be ambassadors of anti-corruption.

This communique was made this day 22th July, 2023 at Ilorin, Kwara State.




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