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Catholic priest leads protest by Sapele residents over power outage

By Emma Amaize

SAPELE—OVER 5,000 residents of Sapele, Delta State, led by the priest of Saint Patricks Church, Sapele, Reverend Father Christopher Ekibo, on Wednesday protested incessant power outages and outrageous billings by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC.

The protesters, who displayed placards with various inscriptions such as “BEDC must go,”    “Sapele needs Line 33 too,”    “No light, no payment of bills,”    and “Disconnect all the leaders from line 33,” gave the BEDC a seven-day ultimatum to restore power to the community.

They marched through major streets in the town before storming BEDC office in the town and threatened fresh protest if their complaints were not attended to in the next one week.

Ekibo, who spoke during the protest, said Sapele indigenes were tired of living in darkness.

The priest, who went with his electricity bills, told BEDC officials that Sapele had lived for a long time with the  painful reality of three-hour electricity supply a day, and sometimes no power supply at all.

He lamented that many companies had shut down, especially Eternit Nigeria Limited, and relocated to Enugu because of poor power supply, lamenting that artisans and small scale businessmen were going through pains to sustain their businesses. He demanded improved power supply.

Others, who spoke were Cyprian Anyanwu and Mike Egbune, who demanded immediate supply of prepaid metres to consumers and reiterated that the residents would not relent in advocating for their rights.

A former chairman of Sapele Local Government Area and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Felix Anirah said: “Sapele residents are tired of incessant power failure.”

He called on BEDC to listen to the people’s plight, saying:    “You can see they are angry. Only God knows what will happen, if they return.”

Responding, Head, Corporate Affairs, BEDC Plc, Mr. Adekunle Tayo,    said the low supply was due to low generation of power to the national grid.

 


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