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Edo Community Protest Nine-month Black Out

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Agene AKHERE, Benin

Residents of Uhonmora-Ora community in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo on Monday took to the streets and blocked the Iruekpen/Ifon highway in protest over staying nine months without electricity.

The protesters armed with various placards, accused the management of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) of sabotage.

Speaking to journalists, the spokesperson of the community, Mr Abel Isikpoje said the community which is mainly peasant farmers had been without electricity since February 2014.

He said the 100KVA transformer that the community had been using for over 20 years broke down and the utility company was contacted but the failed to do anything about it.

“They said they lack the fund to procure another one for us and the local government authority we meant also said the dame thing.

“It was in the process of all this that an indigene of the area brought a new 500KVA transformer for us sometime in September.

“Again, we had another challenges after mounting the transformer, the BEDC said some other accessories were needed to install the transform, again, this the same benefactor, one Job Oikeh came to our rescue.

“But to our dismay, the BEDC still refused to energize the transform after two months of installation.

“Since we have nobody, the company and our council authority not coming to our rescue, we are using this protest to sound a note of warning to the council authority that if at the end of one week the people still remain in darkness, we will take the necessary action we deem fit,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the BEDC spokesman in Irrua, Mr Celeb Ntem said efforts were being made to energize the transformer.

He said the Irrua Business District of the utility company was only waiting for approval from the headquarters before the transformer could be energized.

“We do not energize transformer without getting the necessary approval from the head office. We have filled the necessary document as regards same transformer and waiting for the approval,” he said.

Ntem also told journalists that the company also on Monday had a successful meeting with stakeholders from the community.

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