Delta community cries out after eight years in darkness
Residents of the small town of Ubulu-Okiti, Aniocha local council of Delta State seem to have reached the limit of human endurance after being plunged into total darkness as a result of an alleged deliberate disconnection by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
The action is in spite of alleged ongoing illegal levies by some officials of BEDC amounting to over N30 million under the guise of attempting to reconnect the farming community to the national grid.
The former Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN) had actually disconnected Ubulu-Okiti and some other communities as a result of a national policy to dedicate the power-line to the emerging industrial layout in the state capital of Asaba.
Other affected communities such as Onicha-Ugbo, Isselle-Uku, Ubulu-Uku and Ogwashi-Uku have since been restored to the national grid, curiously leaving out only Ubulu-Okiti.
A peeved President General of Ubulu-Okiti Development Association (UODA), Mr. Izu Iloba-Agafiena, charged that some officials of the electricity company connived with some dubious elements in Ubulu-Okiti to deceive the people to cough out some money to restore light.
He fumed: “As I speak to you, this illegal and dubious collections are going on and BEDC with their cohorts have extorted over N30 million from gullible residents in desperate need of power supply to revive their businesses.”
Iloba-Agafiena said the community has made concerted efforts in the wake of the PHCN disconnection and were assured that the new power distribution management, BEDC would address their plight and restore power supply to them.
The Corporate Affairs Officer of BEDC, Asaba Office, Mrs. Esther Okolie, denied allegation of extortion by officials of the company. She insisted that she is not aware of bribe taking by her colleagues, adding that no responsible staff will correct bribe.
While pleading for patience to sort it out, she said that it could be possible that former staff of PHCN may have a hand in the sordid deed if the allegation is true.