THE Black-Smith Welders and Iron Benders Association of Nigeria (BWIAN), Kogi state chapter on Sunday raised the alarm over imminent collapse of the sector due to lack of power supply.
The association, therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to rescue them and safe members from the total collapse of their businesses.
The association also berated the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) over its failure to distribute prepaid metres to customers after years of promises, saying that the over 2000 of its members in the central senatorial district would soon be pushed out of the trade if urgent actions are not taken by the government.
In a statement jointly signed by the President of the association Kogi central senatorial district, Mr Musa Sa’id and the branch Chairmen of Adavi, Ajaokuta, Okene and Okehi local government areas, the association lamented that the distribution company is already on the verge of throwing their members out of business through seven days of electricity supply out of 30 days in a month.
The statement read, “The AEDC in the last three years has been given our members “crazy” bills for the electricity they did not use. More worrisome is the six hours light the distribution company released in a day which if evaluated the number of days we have light in a month is only seven days and the company billed us for 30 days.
“We are tired of paying for electricity we did not use, also the staff of AEDC will disconnect our light but the bills kept coming to us, many of us can no longer feed our families not to talk of paying our children school fees among other responsibilities on our shoulders. We collect jobs but no electricity to execute the jobs.
“We have been asking the distribution company to give us prepaid metre, but they deliberately refused to serve us because they want to continue cheating us and giving us their crazy bills.”
While appealing to President Buhari and Bello over their plight, the artisans said the over 2000 members of the association would soon be pushed into already saturated labour market if the government did not do the needful.
The group, however, commended the effort of Governor Bello in the area of provision of security of lives and property to the people of the state, assuring him of their unalloyed support to move the state forward.
The Liaison Officer of Licence Electrical Contractors Association of Nigeria (LECAN), Chief Haruna Osike, while supporting the association, said government at all level have been making concerted effort to encourage people to learn a trade of their choice to be self-reliant, stressing that lack of power supply had continued to discourage them.
Chief Osike appealed to AEDC to supply the artisans with prepaid metres and improve on their power supply to people whose businesses are power dependent, noting that government cannot fight insecurity in an atmosphere of hunger and lack of jobs.
Meanwhile, the Marketing Manager of AEDC Okene business unit, Mr Olusegun Pelema, in his response to the complaints of the association, assured that it would be forwarded to the company’s head office in Abuja for attention.