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Customers Jubilate as IBEDC Installs Free Prepaid Meters



IBEDC Prepaid Meters

By Dipo Olowookere

Many customers of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) could not hide their excitement after the energy distribution firm installed free prepaid meters in their premises.

On Wednesday, IBEDC commenced the mass metering programme of the federal government aimed to bridge the wide metering gap in the country.

Last year, the federal government, through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an upward review of electricity tariff in the country.

This development caused the labour unions in the country to threaten a national strike but they were pacified to shelve the action especially it was coming shortly after the government eased lockdown in the country. It was projected that if the industrial action was allowed, the economy would suffer a huge loss.

As part of the agreement reached with the aggrieved workers, the government said it would launch a mass metering programme. This would see up to six million prepaid meter shared to consumers for free over a period of time. With this, the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme, which made consumers to pay for the commodity, was technically suspended.

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So, when IBEDC began to install the free prepaid meters, customers shouted for joy because it saved them the over N40,000 they would have paid to procure the gadget under the MAP programme.

They commended the federal government for the National Mass Metering programme, saying it is a relief from estimated billings.

One of the excited customers of IBEDC at Ikolaba, Ibadan, Mrs Oyetayo Adeosun, said she was happy to be one of the beneficiaries of the ongoing mass metering programme.

“The free meter that we got has been a great relief because before it has been an issue, especially with what we were billed in the past.

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“But now, it’s been fair, we are going to pay what we consumed, Mrs Adeosun said.

Another customer, Mrs Bola Ayinde, stated that, “I am happy about the meter. God will bless Nigeria and Oyo State.”

On his part, Mr Amos Agboola, a customer at Ikolaba area, said the meter was given to him free of charge.

“Since it was installed, we see the energy usage. There has also been an improvement in the services. We can now monitor our usage and make payment for energy comfortably.

“I think it is a good improvement for both the consumers and distributors as it is connected to their network also,” Mr Agboola said.

In his remarks, Mr Ayo Adio, the Head of Customers’ Support at IBEDC, said sensitisation has been ongoing to let customers under its franchise areas to know that the installation of the meters is free.

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Mr Adio, who spoke on behalf of the management of IBEDC, disclosed that, “Customers are not paying for them. The essence of this programme is to discourage estimated billings, which customers have been complaining about.

“We believe within few weeks, most of the customers designated to have these meters will have them installed in their premises.

“We have our strategy for distribution such that it will not depend on man-know-man. It is organised strategically to reach our customers for free.”

IBEDC had commenced the distribution of the 104,000 free meters provided by the federal government and locally manufactured over a month ago across all the areas of its franchise.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via

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ECOWAS Court Restrains Nigeria From Imposing Sanctions On Twitter




By Adedapo Adesanya

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice in Abuja has restrained the federal government from imposing sanctions or harassing, intimidating, arresting or prosecuting Twitter.

It also restricted the government from carrying out such actions against any other social media service provider, as well as media houses, pending the hearing and determination of a suit challenging the government’s suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.

The court gave the restraining order following the suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians.

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In the suit, the applicants argued that the suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government was illegal

The federal government on June 4 said it has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria as its operation threatened national security.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued by his office in Abuja.

The statement cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

According to the statement, the Minister said the federal government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.

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The suspension came a few days after Twitter deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s official account.

The tweet had referenced the Nigerian civil war as the President threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.

It sparked reactions from many Nigerians who interpreted the statement as a threat to commit human rights violations.

On Tuesday, the federal government set up a team to engage with Twitter over the recent suspension of the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria.

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The approval was announced in a statement in Abuja today by Mr Mohammed, who will chair the team.

The committee comprises the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Works and Housing, Minister of State for Labour and Employment as well as other relevant government agencies.

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Buhari Constitutes Team to Engage Twitter Over Ban



Twitter Fake news

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A team has been put together by President Muhammadu Buhari to engage Twitter, popular social media platform, over the suspension of its operations in Nigeria.

Twitter was banned in Nigeria by the federal government in early June after it deleted a tweet of President Buhari for violating one of its rules.

The President had posted a series of tweets and in one of them, he threatened to treat those fomenting trouble in the South-East in a language they understand.

He had earlier said those agitating to leave the country were too young to know about the losses the region suffered in the Nigerian Civil War that last 30 months between. Millions of Igbos were said to have died during the war.

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A few days before Mr Buhari’s tweet, the heroes of the war were honoured on May 30 across the region and there was a stay-at-home order given by the Indigenous People of Briafra (IPOB), which was strictly adhered to.

So, when the President posted about dealing with people from the region in a language they understand, it was taken to be a genocide threat, which Twitter frowns at.

The federal government, which was angered by the action of the microblogging website, retaliated by suspending operations of the company in Nigeria, making it impossible for residents of the country to have access to the platform.

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who announced the ban, has been going around to explain the reason for the action.

He had said the indefinite suspension was because the platform to undermine the “corporate existence” of Nigeria. He later said Twitter has approached the government for talks.

On Tuesday, his media aide, Mr Segun Adeyemi, disclosed in a statement that Mr Buhari has “approved the composition” of a team to have discussions with Twitter over the issue.

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He said the team is to be led by Mr Mohammed with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo; as well as other relevant government agencies as members.

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Second Niger Bridge to be Ready 2022—FG Assures



Second Niger Bridge

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has reaffirmed its determination to complete the construction of the Second Niger Bridge next year.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, gave this assurance at a forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, June 20, to mark the sixth year anniversary of the present administration.

According to Mr Fashola, the bridge, which will serve as a major link between South-East and South-West Nigeria, will be delivered between the second and third quarter of 2022.

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Records show that construction of the bridge commenced on September 1, 2018, with construction cost put at N336 billion when the contract deal was signed.

The minister, however, made no mention if the construction cost of the facility had changed since the commencement of work.

He said that the project would facilitate the influx of investments to the South East when completed, noting that the construction work had gone beyond the water level, explaining that most bridge works were done underwater.

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“So, what you see currently is the final work. The sub-structure which entailed building cement structures underwater often costs a lot of money.

“We should finish the bridge next year between the second quarter and third quarter,” he affirmed, saying that construction time was lost because of COVID-19.

The bridge is 1.6 kilometres long and furnished with other ancillary infrastructure, including a 10.3 kilometres highway and an inter-change expected to be completed next year.

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The bridge spans from Asaba in Delta State to Ozubulu, Ogbaru, and other communities in Anambra State.

The existing Niger Bridge linking Onitsha and Asaba was completed in December 1965. It was built by the French construction giant, Dumez.

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