…Gives BEDC 7Days ultimatum to restore power back to Sapele
By Onitsha Shedrack, ——— December 28th, 2016 —————–
Residents of Sapele, in Delta state today staged a peaceful protest to the office of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, in Sapele warning that power outage and outrageous billing will no longer be tolerated.
The protesters numbering over 5,000 carrying placards with inscriptions such as ‘BEDC must go’ ‘Sapele need 33kv line too’, ‘No light, no payment of Bills’, ‘Disconnect all the political leaders from 33kv line’, and so on vowed that if in a week time if these complains are not attended to, they will be force to return.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, at the gate of the electricity distribution company, the priest of St Patrick Catholic Church, Sapele, Rev. Fr Christopher Ekibo who led the protesters through major streets in the town before convening at BEDC office, ATP, said Sapele indigenes were tired of living in darkness.
The priest who brought along his light bills told BEDC officials that for a long time Sapele has live with the reality of 3 hours electricity supply in a day and sometimes no power supply at all.
He attribute the closure of companies in the town especially Eternit Nigeria Limited that has moved to Enugu to the poor power supply to Sapele adding artisans and SME’s are going through pains to sustain their business and demanded for improvement in power supply.
Others who spoke on behalf of the protesters were Comrade Cyprian Anyanwu who demanded for the immediate supply of prepaid metres and Barr. Mike Egbune who said they will continue to advocate and fight for the people’s right.
Addressing journalists, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Felix Anirah said, Sapele residents were tired of incessant power failure.
He called on the management of BEDC to listen to the people’s plight, “You can see they are angry, only God knows what will happen, if they return again,” he noted.
One of the protesters who gave his name as Mr. Ufuoma Emubosa, frown at a situation where the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Monday Igbuya, DESOPADEC Board Chairman, Mr Godwin Ebosa, DESOPADEC Commissioners, House of Assembly members, and other government appointee in Sapele are connected to 33kv lines.
He urged the management of BEDC to disconnected politicians using 33kv lines for their personal use, stressing that if they are treated like other resident in Sapele, they would fine solution to the blackout currently being faced in Sapele.
Responding, Mr Adekunle Tayo Head, Corporate Affairs, Benin Electricity Distribution Plc said that the low supply was due to low generation of power to the national grid, that BEDC’s allocation has been 9per cent of whatever is generated nationally from which they now share amongst the 4 coverage states of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states.
He added that they had overdrawn their allocation for Delta state from 31 to 41percent yet it is not enough to meet the required needs of customers. He however, assured that supply to Sapele residents will improve as soon as there is increase in allocation to BEDC from the national grid and beg the protesters to bear with them.
Other notable leaders who also took part in the protest were Hon. Goodluck Arimitan, Mr. Solomon Abeke, representative of the Sapele Local government chairman, Mr Perkins Umukoro and members of the Youths Council of Nigeria.
According to an official of BEDC in Sapele business unit who spoke to Advocate, but pleaded anonymity, said “the allocate to Sapele is low, but for us to meet our target because of none-payment of bill and power theft, we have to consider those in 33kv line first.”
“As you know we are in business to make profit and since Sapele residents are not willing to pay for the power consumed, we have no other option to give it to those that can pay for it.”