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#PowerOutage: BEDC staff flee, as protesters besiege office in Warri

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Thursday, April 21st, 2016
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For the second day running, electricity consumers, on Thursday morning, took to major streets of Warri to denounce the untold hardships they are going through due to epileptic or non-availability of electricity in the metropolis.

Scores of the protesters, reminiscent of Wednesday’s, comprised of old women and children who are coincidentally on holiday, and youths from Ogboru, Obahor and Eboh streets in the heart of Warri, Warri South Local Government of Delta State.

The disenchanted protesters marched from Ogboru, Obahor and Eboh streets through Ginuwa junction down to BEDC office located in Warri-Sapele road.

Perhaps acting on a tip-off that the huge protesters were marching towards their office, staff of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and some customers, as gathered, took to their heels to avoid being caught in the melee.

The protesters, who were armed with fresh green leaves and chanting songs like: “we nor go pay o, we nor go pay, NEPA people we nor go pay,” were denied entry into the BEDC office by armed anti-riot policemen who were swiftly deployed to maintain law and order.

The protesters described as ungodly the continued payment of electricity bills for what they did not consume.

They added that most of their businesses, which are anchored on electricity, have collapsed due to non-availability and sometimes epileptic power supply for the past six months in their domain.

Speaking with Nigerian Tribune, one of the protesters, Esther Ogbede, who is a student, said the commodity has become very scarce amid high cost of fuel to power generating sets.

“Since I returned from school, I have not been able to use the light to do anything; sometimes I need to read and do research through my computer device, but now no light.

“Also, the weather is hot; no fuel to buy; our food items get perished, everything increases: so let the light be the way it suppose to be because we are tired of this problem,” she said frustratingly.

A middle-aged man, John Omorini, who also decried the epileptic power supply which, he said, has adversely affected his business, said “the company should be taken over by the government.

According to the visibly angry BEDC customer, “the woman who is in charge of the company is not reliable enough; I heard some of their staff have not been paid for some months now: so let the government handle it back the way it was.”

Another protester, Mrs Theresa Amumega, who is a petty trader, lamented the ugly development which, she said, has lasted for six months.

She told Nigerian Tribune in Warri pidgin that: “my two fridges don spoil because of this issue; when them bring the light, them go off am back once, just OFF and ON, the light nor dey waste time.

“If dem bring one hour for one day, them go bring bill of one month; this problem don reach six months now, even person do illegal na arrest, so let them give us the light to use well,” the septuagenarian pleaded.

However, the anti-riot policemen deployed to enforce law and order were seen placating the angry protesters, assuring them that officers of the company would attend to their plight, just as officials of BEDC could not be reached for comment as of the time of filing this report.

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