Civil society groups and notable Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs) in Edo, Ondo, Delta, and Ekiti State respectively, have resolved to launch a mass protest at Abuja, against the renewal of the operational license of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, by the Federal government over what the groups described as total failure of the company in its coverage areas of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Bayelsa States.
The Benin Electricity Distribution Company has been largely criticized in its coverage areas for lack of power delivery, management and billing methods since inception.
BEDC operation license alongside other discos in Nigeria will expire in the month of September, 2018.
Starnews gathered that BEDC is among the top disco companies who may have serious challenges in the renewal of their operating license due to so many arrangements by different groups who have perfected arrangement to publicly protest against the renewal of BEDC operating license, apart from several petitions against the company by various communities under their coverage.
In a statement signed by Comrade Osazee Edigin, Public Relations Officer,
Edo Civil Society Organisations, the group revealed the many sins of BEDC which include but not limited to: disrespect for court orders, harassment of customers with police, use of military personnel attached to top flight staff of the company to harass customers on protest by communities when they get disconnected without due process and for debt recovery. Refusal to supply prepaid meters thereby continuing with estimated billing to defraud customers, plunging of whole communities into darkness so as to compel the people to pay whatever amount they deem fit to impose on them without justification or verifiable evidence, highhandedness, indiscriminate power supply at the discretion of the company to suit the whims of special customers, and many other complaints listed by the groups.
In a similar development, the latest arrangement organised by Edo Civil Society Organisations has been endorsed by the Bring Back Our Light Group (BBOL) in Ondo South, a group in the forefront to restore electricity to four affected councils in Ondo State.
The BBOL convener, pastor Olumide Akinrinlola revealed that the team has also reached out to the Council of Concerned Youth of Nigeria (COCYON) , Ekiti State chapter, to join in the struggle to protest against the renewal of BEDC license. This claim was authenticated by our correspondent who spoke with the state Coordinator of Ekiti State chapter of COCYON on phone, Hon. Dairo Dennis, who confirmed that the people of Ekiti State are not only in support of the call but has also perfected arrangements to mobilise themselves to Abuja for the mass action tagged: “operation thunderstorm” against BEDC.
The BBOL also listed the sins of BEDC as including: Illegal disconnection, flagrant disobedience to constituted authority, (failure to restore some local governments in Ondo South despite NERC official instruction that BEDC should reconnect them), electricity bills padding and exorbitant estimated bills.
It was also gathered that some communities in Ekiti and Delta states were illegally put into darkness by BEDC without prior notices as required by the law.