Angry women resident in Ogbeh Layout of Ebrumede in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State,Monday morning,defied a heavy rain to lay siege on the Effurun office of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) distribution vehicular movement for over three hours.The protesting women are requesting an end to about two years blackout that has caused them so much pains or a refund of their N1m paid to the company for the purchase of a new transformer after the former one was allegedly stolen.
Armed with placards with inscriptions expressing their displeasure with BEDC, the protesters said they painstakingly contributed the N1 million to officials of the company led by its Business Manager,one Mr Bethel,whom,they said, acknowledged the receipt with a promise to restore light to the area in no time.
But since the payment in June,2017,the women said Mr Bethel and other officials of BEDC office located opposite Ovie Palace Junction at Effurun/Sapele road, have been avoiding them.
It was gathered that the Police Barracks in the community has also been without electricity for two years, but wives of the officers who were billed to join the protest were allegedly asked to back out by the police authorities.A source said in order to push for restoration of electricity to the barracks,each police family also coughed up N10,000 while owners of lock up shops paid a minimum of N5,000 each to BEDC officials.
One of the protesting women from Ogbeh Layout,Mrs Nwakem Ngozi,described the situation without electricity as being hellish.
“For the past three years,no light.We’re in complete darkness.We pay tax.To facilitate the restoration of light,we contributed N1m.
“Yet no light.Our businesses are paralyzed.Thieves are disturbing daily. Many residents are relocating to safer climes.This is the seventh month that we paid the N1m,yet no light.We’re tired; we’re aggrieved,” she retorted.
Reacting to the complaints before journalists,the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the BEDC branch office,one Mrs Ogaga,acknowledged the payment of the N1m to the company,but added it was not enough to purchase a new transformer for the area.
She disclosed that the former transformer used by the community was stolen under the nose of the police, revealing that the police barracks has a debt of about N21 million hanging on its neck.
She promised to follow up the case in the next two months after it would have been ascertained that the protesters are debt-free from BEDC,pleading for the patience and understanding.