Monarchs lead protests against six-month outage in Ekiti communitie
THE traditional ruler of Aramoko-Ekiti in Ekiti West Local Council of Ekiti State, Oba Olu Adeyemi, yesterday personally led his subjects to protest six months blackout in the town.
The protesters blocked the busy Erio-Aramoko-Ijero-Ado-Ekiti roads in the morning, and caused a heavy build-up of vehicles travelling from Ado and Ijero through Aramoko, as well as those coming into Ekiti State from Osun State.
There was also a build-up of vehicles at Erio-Ekiti, also in Ekiti West Local Council where the regent of the community, Adejoke Adetoyinbo Ojo, had also led her subjects out to the streets to protest blackout she also said had lasted for about six months.
Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Kolapo Olubunmi Olushola, who visited the communities and appealed to the protesters to clear the barricades, assured them that government would intervene in the matter.
But Oba Adeyemi told Olushola at one of the barricades at the entrance into the town that the people of Aramoko were particularly unhappy with Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), which he said, had disconnected them from the national grid without the community knowing it.
The monarch said his people were angered more because they were among the communities that pay their bills “but the BEDC has not done well by disconnecting us without our knowledge,” saying: “This unjust treatment is part of the insult and injury we are suffering in the hand of BEDC.”
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by its Chief State Head, Ondo and Ekiti states, Mr. Ernest Edgar, the BEDC said Aramoko-Ekiti in Ekiti State is one of the communities that have refused to pay electricity bills.
The community, it said before privatisation, was owing the sum of N58,109,657.54 and since privatisation on November 1, 2013, it has further accumulated to N74,080,944.47, bringing the total indebtedness to N132,190,602.01 which they have refused to pay despite series of meetings between them and BEDC officials, adding: “With the present situation, the only option for BEDC was to withdraw services if we must remain in business.
Oba Adeyemi said: “Our request is direct: Fayose administration did it before, he connected us to Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) and we were enjoying it. We want him to return us to IBEDC. In terms of payment, we are among the communities that pay our bills.”
He alleged that “BEDC is cheating us. When they give us electricity for five minutes, they would have five hours in their record.