A coalition of Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSO), has called for the revocation of the operating licence of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), over non perormance and non chalant attitude of the company towards its customers.
While also accusing BEDC of using the Miscellaneous Offence Act, 2004 to send no fewer than 200 residents in the state who they accused of tampering with their electrical installations to jail, EDOCSO insisted that the company was not prepared to provide electricity to the people.
Matching through major streets of Benin in a peaceful protests, Tuesday, the group which sang solidarity songs, accused the company of disobeying an order of a competent court of jurisdiction which had in its judgment, declared as illegal, their increase in electricity tarrif.
Addressing journalists at the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) premises through their spokesman, Comrade Omobude Agho, the protesters insisted that the increase was effected without abiding with the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
Agho disclosed that a legal practitioner, Toluwani Adebiyi, had instituted a legal action against the 11 distribution companies across the country, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and Ziklagsis Networks Ltd.
He argued further that the increment of tariff had brought more hardship and suffering on the masses.
He disclosed that the judgement which was delivered on the 12 of May, 2016, declared the tariff increment illegal and thereby setting it aside, adding that the court further directed that the tariff be reversed to status quo ante.
Agho noted that the disobedience of the BEDC to court order has forced electricity consumers to tamper with their meters.
“We are convinced that if the DISCOs have not increased their tariffs against the judgement of the court, there would not have been any tampering with meter installation by the people. It is clear to all and sundry that Nigerians are forced to pay for darkness by the private investors in the power sector regardless the recession,” he said.
Agho further alleged that BEDC has deliberately stop supplying meters to customers in order to continually issue estimated bills to them while there is also a new attempt by the company to give power to the rich and deny the poor of their services.
Also speaking on the alleged harassment of members of the public by the company through the help of military personnel, another member of the group, Comrade Idahosa Samuel Igue, said the company should stop arresting and detaining electricity consumers.
He noted that continual harassment and intimidation by the BEDC with the help of the military personnel would not be in its overall interest.