Lagos National Theatre in darkness over debt

Lagos National Theatre in darkness over debt

Sunday, July 31, 2016 2:59 pm

National Theatre Lagos

National Theatre Lagos

Nigeria’s edifice, the National Arts Theatre is in darkness and it has been for week.

Electricity supply to the busy centre was cut off by  Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EKEDC)  over a debt of N9 million.

Mr Idemudia Godwin, General Manger, Media Communications of EKEDC, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the complex was disconnected after several appeals and demand notices went unheeded.

According to him, the debt is an accumulation of unpaid bills over time. We don’t disconnect without serving notice.

“Besides, we recently ran a newspaper advertisement informing all EKEDC debtors of Ministries and Departmental Agencies (MDAs) of our intention to disconnect them.

“We have commenced disconnection of all historic debtors, including residential, commercial, industrial and government establishments within our network,’’ he said.

The EKEDC spokesman said that the astronomical indebtedness by some customers was taking its toll on the company, adding that it is seriously impacting negatively on the entire value chain in the power sector equation.

According to him, only 25 per cent of this debt actually belongs to DISCOs, the rest is for other companies in the value chain— generating companies, bulk traders, gas suppliers, among others.

“So if you do not pay and you accumulate debt, what you are looking at is a possible total collapse of the entire power sector.

“That is what we seek to avert by this action. We need this fund to energies the power sector; to ensure electricity supply and to grow the sector,’’ Idemudia said.

He stated that the operations of all distribution companies were hampered by huge indebtedness of these “historic debtors’’.

An official of the National Art Theatre confirmed to NAN correspondent on Sunday that the theatre’s power supply was disconnected last week.

The disconnection has affected business activities around the complex.

On 24 July, Sunday Oduntan, Executive Director, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), decried the huge indebtedness of government establishments and military formations to the distribution companies.

He gave the statistics of indebtedness of the distribution companies as follows –Abuja DISCO, N18.6 billion; Eko DISCO, N8.6 billion; Kaduna, N8.2 billion and Enugu, N7.2 billion.

Others are Ibadan, N6.8 billion; Ikeja, N5.9 billion; Port Harcourt, N6.8 billion; Benin, N5.8 billion; Jos, N6.5 billion; Yola, N2.4 billion and Kano, N1.2 billion.

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