The Business Manager, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), one Engineer Abiodun has been accused of truncating every effort muscled together by residents of Bonsac, close to Asaba, Aniocha north local government area from having power supply.
The angry residents stormed the Asaba District Office, BEDC, located along Anwai Road Thursday accusing the Manager of allegedly collecting over N1 million from them to fix their faulty transformer.
The protesters besieged and barricaded the entrance gate of BEDC’s District Office, demanding to speak with the Business Manager over alleged sharp practices.
The protesters claimed they have been experiencing total blackout since December, 2016, alleging that the Business Manager told them that their transformer was faulty and needed to be repaired with the sum of N1.2 million.
They asserted that they contributed the said amount by tasking each house in the community N5, 000 in order to fix the faulty transformer, but to their utter dismay, there was still no electricity supply after many weeks.
The spokesperson of the protesters, Mr. Emmanuel Ayuda, alleged that when they confronted the Business Manager why there was still no power supply to the area after fixing the transformer, the manager allegedly told them that they would suffer total blackout for months as their punishment for not contracting the repair of the transformer to him, “there will be no supply of power for the next eight months”.
Mr Ayuda Lamented that Engr. Biodun did not inform them of his intention to carry out the repair contract, disclosing that two different groups through their elders had allegedly given bribe in the sum of N250, 000 and N400, 000 to some top officials of the BEDC and they were supplied power for only one to two weeks at two occasions after which the supply of power was cut off till date.
He alleged that the Business Manager threatened to frustrate residents of Bonsac Community over power supply unless they come to re-contract the N1.2 million repair of the transformer to him.
The protesters stopped staff and customers from coming in and going out of the Asaba District Office of BEDC complex by the protesters who were chanting and singing “Business Manager you must address us openly today o!” And other solidarity songs.
The arrival of men of the Nigerian Police Force with a Federal Highway Patrol van with registration number: NPF 6748C thereby threatening the protesters with guns could not compel the aggrieved protesters to open the gate.
However, an appeal by the leader of the team, Inspector Udin Ogheneochuko, to the protesters to open the small entrance gate for him to enter and address them did not yield any positive result.
It took the intervention and arrival of another police van filled with mobile policemen led by DSP Ukadike Chuks and one SP Nwede. J. Ogobuchi who came at the same time with an ash colour Toyota Camry with registration number: Edo State, FUG-447A to coerce and compel the angry protesters to open one side of the gate.
Other complaints made against the manager by the protesters include, non-prepaid metering, outrageous estimated billing and bullying of consumers through threat to cut of power supply.
Efforts to reach the Business Manager for comment proved abortive even as staff of BEDC turn down request for comment.