Residents of the Police Academy Community woke up early Thursday morning, gravely agitated over the Liberia Electricity Corporation’s (LEC) alleged failure to address their lack for electricity, which they claimed has existed for over three months.
On the newly paved road connecting the Police Academy Junction to the SKD Boulevard, angry residents gathered there and set roadblocks, impeding the movement of vehicles and motorbikes conveying passengers from one point to the other.
The aggrieved residents, led by community heads, including Ernest B. Kemokai, said they were not leaving or removing their roadblocks until LEC can come to the scene to either install their transformers or give some assurances.
According to Chairman Kemokai, they have written letters to the LEC many times and even visited its offices, but the management has paid deaf ears to their concerns, and they have remained in darkness.
“We are citizens and the government is responsible to provide our basic social services without payments to other people except what is legitimately charged, and because we did not agree to pay extra money on the side to those LEC field workers, they do not want to address our plight. But today, they must address the current issue here, and without any commitment, we cannot leave from here,” Kemokai said.
Despite the intervention of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to have the aggrieved residents remove the roadblock, they resisted and promised to give their lives in case of any eventuality.
Andrew J. Wleh, Jr., a resident of the area, also said LEC field workers have the habit of charging extra money apart from what customers should pay in line with regulations, thereby making the entity to be one of the most corrupt institutions and defrauding the government of its revenue.
“Without coming to replace the damaged transformers in the community, they come to us to pay US$20 each to them in order to connect us to a transformer that is heavily loaded. This is an act of defrauding government and we are opposed to this corrupt act,” he said.
Mr. Wleh, who is an acting youth chairperson in the community, noted that there are hundreds of residents in the Police Academy Community willing to have current and pay for the services, but LEC is inattentive to them while field workers are demanding money that must go to the corporation and government.
“I have a freezer that I used to produce cold water for sale; there are others operating schools, clinics and other businesses who are financially potent to purchase current. We have Senator Milton Teahjay, Representative Larry Younquoi and other prominent people here who can buy over US$50 current. So, when our lines are connected, LEC will make the money it needs, but the field workers are not willing to allow the money that must go to the government,” Wleh said.
Late in the evening yesterday, Chairman Kemokai told the Daily Observer that they removed the roadblock in an agreement that the LEC Management has promised to restore power in the community in nine days.
This is the second time after a few days that residents of Monrovia are getting on the rampage in demand for electricity. It may be recalled that early this week, residents of Jallah Town set roadblocks, stopping the regular movement of vehicles in demand for the restoration of power in their community.