- Nigeria's federal government has been urged not to renew the operating licence of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC)
- BEDC was also accused of inefficiency by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state
- The electricity company was also accused of disconnecting a senatorial district comprising of Ilaje, Okitipupa, Irele and Ese Odo local government areas of Ondo state from the national grid
- Management of the company however claimed they had improved electricity in Edo state
Residents of Ondo and Edo states have kicked against renewal of operating licence of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) over what they described as inefficiency and outright disobedience of constituted authority.
Residents of the two states had on Friday, July 27, in their hundreds stormed Benin court to demand for the sack of the electricity company.
BEDC had reportedly approached the Edo state high court in Benin to seek a perpetual injunction restraining civil society groups, community groups and youths groups from protesting against it.
The efficiency of the company was also questioned by Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, according to a report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The governor had reportedly said that: “195 communities have never seen electricity as BEDC is not ready to extend electricity to these communities. 128 communities have issues of collapse of infrastructure which BEDC is not prepared to fix. 219 transformers purchased by the state government and the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) as replacements for faulty transformers are yet to be installed by BEDC.”
Also, the disconnection of Ondo south senatorial district from the national grid for over three years is another reason the protesters are calling on the federal government not to renew the operating licence of the company.
The local governments comprise Ilaje, Okitipupa, Irele and Ese Odo local government areas of Ondo state.
Olumide Akinrinlola, a resident of one of the affected local governments and the coordinator of Bring Back Our Light (BBOL), a group at the forefront of the agitation for light restoration in Ondo state claimed that BEDC had been directed by the Federal Government to restore electricity back to the affected LGAs but refused to obey the directive.
In a statement made available to NAIJ.com, the Bring Back Our light group said:
"At the meeting, after the hearing of all parties by the panel, a resolutions was taken by NERC and BEDC was directed to resume back to work and reconnect the affected communities immediately. NERC also said BEDC should reconnect the affected communities before talking about payment.
"NERC also said that both parties should reconcile the disputed debts two weeks after resumption of BEDC at site for reconnection.
"Till date, this directive was not obeyed by BEDC. They refused to reconnect all the affected councils in flagrant disobedience to the commission (NERC).
"BEDC only came for account reconciliation and they keep asking for money before they could reconnect affected communities against the instruction of NERC.
"It was also discovered in the course of account reconciliation that Ilaje Local government is even having credit balance of Two Million Naira (N2, 000,000) only with BEDC which BEDC also confirmed as true."
However, The Nation reports that management of BEDC in their reply to Governor Obaseki's inefficiency accusation claimed they had improved electricity in Edo state.
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Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state on Monday, July 16, placed a N10 million bounty on the assailants of four policemen killed in Sabon-gida Ora, Owan West Local Government Area of the state, on July 14.
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