Energy Theft/Under Development in Makoko
Morning Crossfire takes the last edition of the projects done by female reporters from Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism’s Female Reporters Leadership Program. Today’s show has the work of Wemimo Adewuni, also a co-host on Morning Crossfire under perspective.
Electricity theft has been reported to be a common practice in many parts of Nigeria which has resulted to energy worth billions of naira being stolen annually.
This problem is said to be rooted in the country’s socioeconomic, political, environmental and technical areas. Sometime ago, residents of Makoko protested for lack of electricity for the past 5 years. The lack of electricity in some part of Makoko has created a huge challenge in surrounding areas.
Some individuals who have electricity supply in old Makoko have become merchants of the scarce commodity. They steal power illegally from PHCN poles and sell to the neighbourhood.
Contrary to the commonly held belief that electricity theft only takes place in residential areas, this crime is also prevalent in the commercial sector. The Senate in November 2018 proposed a consolidated bill on energy theft and vandalism to help distribution companies (DisCos) mitigate losses.
According to Chairman Senate Committee (in 2018), Enyinnaya Abaribe, the "response to energy theft, vandalism and others is scattered all over different laws and different areas" in the country. Therefore, bill for consolidation will benefit the discos and citizens. These are Sheriff’s opening comments during the show.
Wemimo talks about her foray into the Makoko findings. Her report is a multi-faceted one about life and living in the Lagos area known as Makoko. Wemimo explains that she initially was following a story at Owode Onirin at Ikorodu axis of Lagos. That was when her interests shifted to Makoko.
“I heard a news report about Makoko residents protesting for not having electricity for five years. I decided to go there and see what was happening. While following that story, I discovered that a two-year-old boy had died. A man on Church Street taps light and distributes, selling the light like he’s a DisCo himself. He sells to houses around him for a fee.
“I later discovered that the boy died in the house of a widow. The widow was trying to take care of seven children and they were barely surviving alongside the complicity of police. She went to report the case but was arrested and had to pay about fifty thousand naira for bail. So I couldn’t pass over such a story.”
Two widows are also in the studio from Makoko and they both came with their own heartrending stories. You can CLICK HERE to follow the program fully on 99.3 Nigeria Info FM.
Wemimo Adewuni @wemimospot – Journalist with @NigeriainfoFM/ Female Reporter @WSoyinkaCentre/ Founder @Medriveng Media Hub
Mrs Muiba Hussein & Mrs Folake Kareem – Widows from Makoko
Bukola Shoaga – God’s Wives International Widow’s Ministry (NGO)
Bala Elkana – Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo Adewuni (@wemimospot) & Sheriff Quadry (@SheriffQuadry)
By Jude Chukwuemeka