Labour Protests against BEDC, Says Ekiti Can’t Pay for Darkness

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By Victor Ogunje

The organised labour yesterday staged a protest at the office of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), urging the company to stop outrageous billing and incessant epileptic power supply.

The visibly angry labour leaders from Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), lamented that BEDC’s poor electricity supply to Ekiti State has crippled the economy and occasioned alleged extortion of the power consumers.

The protest was led by the state Chairmen of TUC, Sola Adigun; NLC, Kolapo Olatunde, and JNI Secretary, Gbenga Olowoyo, to the BEDC’s office located at Ajilosun area of the Ado Ekiti metropolis.

Addressing the company’s representative, the NLC Chairman, Olatunde, said: “Ekiti people are tired of paying for darkness, and your estimated billing system should not exceed N3,500 in urban areas and N2,500 in rural areas in the state. There were court judgements that had affirmed these, but BEDC officials didn’t care to abide by it.

“Total blackout that we are experiencing is not helping our economy. You didn’t give prepaid meters to the people many years after they have paid for it. All you do is to bill the way you like.

“You could see that we are peaceful now, but when next we come, we will change our strategies. Why are you treating our people in the state this way? Why do you always give us epileptic power despite the fact that you have the capacity to provide constant power supply? Do you need government’s help so that we can intervene?

“The workers and other citizens are not happy with the way you have been killing the economy of our dear state.

“People in Gbonyin in Ekiti East, and other council areas have not got power for many years, even in Ado Ekiti, but your staff would collect bribes before they switch on general electricity for the people. If you can’t supply power, please leave our state. We are tired of all these troubles.”

Buttressing the position by NLC, the TUC boss, Adigun, added that a lot of injustices were being perpetrated by BEDC in Ekiti State, which he said must be stopped.

In his response, the BEDC Human Resources Manager, Mr. Patrick Akindele, apologised for all the perceived ‘misdemeanor’ in the BEDC operations in Ekiti State, assuring them that there would be an improvement.

According to him, “It is painful and unfortunate that you didn’t give us notice before you came today, because our leaders who would have attended and speak on some of the issues raised are not around.”

“However, I tender apology about all you have said, but those who can really address the issue are not here. But all your issues will be passed across to them.”