Residents of Kajola (High School), Araromi Communities in Akure South Local government of Ondo State, on Monday took to the streets to protest over eight months power outage in their area.
The crowd who blocked the major road in the area leaving motorists stranded, sang solidarity songs as they created a gridlock which lasted for over two hours. The protest also paralysed economic and commercial activities in the area. The protesters accused the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) of not responding to their complaints over the months. When our correspondent visited the area, men of the Ondo State Police Command were seen on the ground apparently to avoid breakdown of law and order. Addressing journalists on behalf of the landlord Association, during the protest, Mr. Otaru Jerry Eshimakhe said the community had made several efforts to the BEDC over the outage.
Eshimakhe accused the distribution company of being insensitive to the plights of the residents of the area. He disclosed that the power outage in the community has negatively affected the economic and commercial activities in the area, saying many businesses had been affected. His words, “We are have been in total darkness for over eight months now and BEDC has not been responding to our plights. “Majority of our artisans are closing shops now, why others are leaving the community as a result of the prolonged power outage. We are pleading with the BEDC to have mercy on us and restore our light.”
Reacting, the Business Manager, Igbara-Oke Unit of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, Mrs. Iyabo Adefemi said the company was aware of the power outage. Adefemi disclosed that the company was doing everything possible to restore light to the community. She noted that the Transformer supplying electricity to the areas had been damaged, advising the residents to pay their bills for them to have a new transformer. “We are aware of the protest by the people and we have advised them in our meetings we had with them that they should pay their bills. “They are owing us over N29million, but through several reconciliations of accounts the bill had been reduced to N11million, they should pay and we will work on the faulty transformer for them to have light. We can’t use payments from other community to repair their damaged transformer.”