By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State government has appealed to residents of some areas in Ado Ekiti to shun violence in protest against prolonged power outage which they linked to alleged sabotage.
The Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, urged the protesting residents to toe the path of peace while their complaints are being looked into.
The placard-carrying residents stormed the Deputy Governor’s Office on Friday, urging the state government to prevail on the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to restore light to their areas.
Egbeyemi, who was represented by the Special Assistant on Political Matters,
Mr. Tokunbo Adeparusi, said government was concerned about their plight but appealed to them to eschew violence in the pursuit of their demands.
He said their message would be conveyed to the appropriate organs of government for necessary action.
The protesters comprised traders, artisans, students and other electricity consumers living in Similoluwa and Ori Apata areas of Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
They accused the workers of BEDC of removing the cables of the transformers serving their areas to throw them into darkness and subject them to undue extortion.
Some of their placards read: “Give Us our cable wire, we need light”, “BEDC Stop! Stop!! Marginalization”, “Return our cable”, and “It is over a month we have light”, among other inscriptions.
The leader of the protesters, Mr Tope Ojo, claimed that the only transformer serving the area is old and could no longer dispense electricity to the area.
Ojo, while lamenting the arbitrary service and non-challant attitude of the staff of BEDC in restoring electricity to the area, said that the development had crippled their businesses and thereby brought untold hardship to the residents of the area.
He explained that the removal of the cable from the transformer was responsible for the automatic disengagement of the area from the national grid, thereby subjecting the residents of the area into total blackout.
Ojo alleged that no individual could remove the cable, except a professional from the electricity company.
According to him, the people of the area resorted to protest after the BEDC management in Ado Ekiti had decided to turn deaf ears to the series of complaints they made to them.
The leader of the protesters claimed that the electricity distribution firm deliberately made pre-paid meters unavailable in order to continue billing the resident outrageously without any service to show for it.
Ojo said: “Our area has been in total blackout for over a month and this was as a result of a cable which was removed from the only transformer serving our area down to Ori Apata.
“This transformer is even old, it has been there for over 46 years. It lacks the capacity to supply adequate power to our area.
“We have been to BEDC times without number but they seem not to be coming forth. That was why we decided to come to the deputy governor today, to help us intervene in this matter.”