Angry residents protesting lack of electricity at Sapele, Sapele Local Government Area, Delta State, weekend, laid siege to the Warri-Benin City highway, leaving motorists and travellers stranded for over two hours.
The protesters, clutching different banners and placards with inscriptions such as, “NIPP, show us our MoU and power our step down”, “We are tired of darkness” and “No light, no pay,” accused the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC of being inimical to the economic development of Sapele and its environs.
Paramount in the demands of the protesters is the provision of electricity supply for an average of 12 hours daily and a step- down power plant from one of the two generating power stations at Ogorode, Sapele, which plays host to two power generating stations and a transmission company. One of the leaders of the protesters, Mr. Solomon Abeke, who described the protest as the only solution left for the people of Sapele, said that officials of BEDC have practically refused to listen to their complaints.
“What we are demanding is an improvement in electricity supply. Just imagine, they give us only three hours light every day. We have two generating stations and a transmission station here in Sapele, yet we live in perpetual darkness,” Mr Abeke stated. A rights activist, who participated in the protest, Mike Egbune, described the actions of BEDC as oppressive, stressing that “the residents of the town carried out the protest because they have been cheated for long and they want their rights back.”
Denying the allegations of the protesters, the company’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Adekunle Tayo, said: “That is not true, we held a meeting chaired by the Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon Monday Igbuya, and in that meeting, it was agreed that a committee will be set up to look into their demands.”