By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin
Members of the Edo State Civil Society of Organizations (EDOSCO) yesterday protested against what they called inefficiency of the BEDC Electricity Company in its distribution of electricity in its operational four states of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states.
President of EDOSCO, Comrade Omobude Agho also said that the company has failed in its distribution of meters to its customers.
He said “they said today is Democracy Day but for us today is Electricity Democracy Day. Our leaders and governors have abandoned us; they are supposed to be at our stadia today in celebration but they have left us. The hearts of our leaders are not clear”. But management of BEDC plc had on Monday kicked against the planned protest even as it alleged that they were being sponsored.
The BEDC executive director (Commercial), Dr. Abu Ejoor expressed displeasure over the proposed protest by members of the EDOSCO targeted at dissuading the federal government from renewal of the company’s license which they claimed would expire by December this year, described the protest as a disturbance to public peace.
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Ejoor accused the EDOSCO of peddling misinformation on the license issue quoting the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) as saying that the licenses of BEDC and the other Discos is 15years, with a renewal extension of another 10years after the expiration of same adding “ Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) which handles all matters relating to electricity distribution duly recognizes BEDC as the electricity service provider for Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states”.
“We are presently in court with them on two cases. BEDC took some suspects including EDOSCO members to court in March 2017 at a Benin Federal High court for allegedly tampering with electrical fittings, a crime punishable under section 3 (6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M 17 Laws of Nigeria 2004.
The other case which is pending at the High court in Benin is the one BEDC is seeking for a restraining order preventing EDOSCO members from occupying BEDC business premises at the Head Office, business units or service units in Edo state and disrupting business operations or vandalizing equipment or facilities under the guise of protest. Whilst we agree to the fact that they have the right to protest, such should be done within reasonable confines,” the BEDC Executive Director said.
Reacting to the allegation that they were being sponsored, Spokesperson of EDSCO, Comrade Osazee Edigin told Vanguard that “If we are being sponsored, we would have been able to drive them out of Edo state and what we are doing today (yesterday) is not a protest but a rally in support of the federal government’s plan to review the licenses of DISCOs”