Residents of Akure, the Ondo State capital, numbering over hundred on Monday, stormed the office of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, protesting the alleged extortion of the electricity company.
The protesters comprising the landlords of Ajayi Elekumo Estate at the Alagbaka area of the city barricaded the entrance of the BEDC office, preventing the officials of the company from gaining access to the premises.
Some of the protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as, ‘FGN, this is wickedness’. ‘We deserve a better life,’ ‘BEDC is evil,’ ‘BEDC enough of this cheating,’ ‘BEDC don’t force us to buy cables,’ among others.
They alleged that the officials of the BEDC of ‘killing’ them with outrageous billing. They also said the company had not been supplying the estate with electricity for a long time..
One of the protesters, Mr. Fredrick Ojo emphasized that they will no longer condone billing of their residences when the estate had not had light in the last eight months.
He said, “We demand an end to ridiculous and outrageous estimated bills. All cases of billing without light and humongous bills should be reviewed.
“Everybody should be metered and no impediment should be placed in the way of acquisition of the meters.”
Also speaking on the issue, a member of the estate, Barr. Oluseye Olujimi said the BEDC forced the residents to buy cables from a particular supplier, and the cable bought from the supplier were inferior.
“No one should be forced to buy cables from BEDC. 16mm cannot be and is not better than 35mm or more. If anyone needs to change their cables, they should not be forced to buy from a particular vendor.
“Our rights to freedom of choice and self-determination cannot be abridged,” he said.
In a reaction to the development, the Business Manager of the BEDC, Mr. Andrew Okojie appealed to the protesters to be calm.
He expressed assurance that the agitations of the protesting residents would be looked into, stressing that most of the complaints of the landlords were already being attended to.