By Gbenga Olarinoye
Osogbo—Economic and social activities were, yesterday, paralysed in Ilesa, Osun State, following a violent protest by the youths of the community over the disconnection of six local government areas in the community from the national grid by Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, over alleged attack by the youths of the area on the staff of the company.
No fewer than four journalists were attacked by the youths during the protest which began on Sunday and spread into all nooks and crannies of the ancient community. By yesterday morning, the aggrieved youths barricaded the roads and prevented vehicular movement.
On sighting the journalists, who were covering their protest yesterday, the youths went berserk and descended on the pressmen with cudgels, cutlass and other weapons, damaging their cameras and other equipment beyond repair.
Among the attacked journalists are Rafiu Muhammad of TVC and his cameraman, Taiwo Adu; Channels TV reporter, Shittu Abdulfatai, and his cameraman.
It was further gathered that the protesting youths also damaged the vehicle and cameras of Uniq FM/Freedom Television, Ilesa.
As a result, the authorities of Uniq FM/Freedom TV, Ilesa, directed the station to shut down for three hours for the protest to subside.
At press time, the attacked journalists were receiving treatment at the Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital, LAUTECH, Osogbo.
Meanwhile, the state government has has promised to settle the journalists’ hospital bills.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Adeniyi Adesina, who visited the hospital to sympathise with the victims, decried the attack promising that the state government would offset their medical bills.
Some youths in Olomilagbala and Bolorunduro communities of Obokun Local Government Area of the state were said to have attacked Ilesa business hub of IBEDC last Thursday and beat the company’s workers.
Court, House intervene
This came as the state High Court sitting in Ilesa, Osun State, has directed IBEDC to restore power supply to Ilesa and its environs with immediate effect.
Justice A. L. Adegoke, yesterday, ruled that the decision of the electricity distribution company to throw the entire Ijeshaland into darkness was an illegality.
Meanwhile, Osun State House of Assembly has directed the House Committee on Public Petition to meet with management of IBEDC and representatives of affected areas in Ijeshaland to fashion a way out of the dispute.