15 Youths Arrested For Protesting Against 13 Months Total Blackout In Ondo

Men of the Ondo State Police command have arrested some youths, who staged protest at the weekend over 13 months power blackout in the southern senatorial district of the state.

The youths, numbering about 15, were members ofa group called National Revolutionary Vanguard (NRV).

It was gathered that the coordinator of the group, Mr. Sayo Onukun, an indigene of that area, directed his members in the affected local government areas to stage a peaceful protest against the blackout at the weekend.

As members of NRV in Odigbo local government were preparing for their own protest, mobile policemen allegedly invaded their office in Ore and arrested some of the youths.

The armed mobile policemen were allegedly led by one CSP Adesina from the Ore Police Division of the Ondo State Command, in Odigbo.However, a police source said the arrested youths were not members of the group but cultists, who were only looking for means to disrupt the peace being enjoyed by residents of Ore.

They were later transferred to the Special-Anti Cultism ‎section of the Command in Akure, the state capital, where they were allegedly detained and tortured throughout the night before released on bail.

But NVR coordinator said none of his members wasa cultist, stressing that the police only acted in that manner in order to prevent the youths from protesting peacefully.

However, NRV members, from Okitipupa, Irele, Ilaje, Ese-Odo and Oke-Igbo were allowed to protest.

The protesting youths were armed with placards bearing various inscriptions while they chanted solidarity and anti-government songs for several hours.

Some of the placards read: “Osibodu Restore Our Light”, Reverse the Privatization of NEPA Now!”, “Enough is Enough”, “People of the South are Suffering”, “Where on Earth does Communities Own Electricity Bills”, “10 Months of Blackout is Hell”, “No To Blackout in Our Land”.

The youths blamed authorities of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) under the leadership of Mrs. Funke Osibodun, for the total blackout in the six council areas.

They also lamented the hazard created by the blackout ‎to their economic and social lives, which according to many of them had grossly affected their businesses and well being.

The aggrieved protesters noted that the electricity company claimed that parts of its action of cutting out the communities from the national grid was ‎due to the alleged vandalisationof its infrastructures by miscreants in the areas.

Onukun particularly said, “Our agitation boils downon the blackout which we have been experiencing here for the past one year and the infrastructural abandonment in the southern senatorial district of Ondo State, which has now incapacitated our people.

“For the past one year, we have not been experiencing electricity here since the distribution aspect of power supply was privitaized.

“The woman in charge of this, Mrs. Funke Osinbodosaid the area is owing the electricity company the sum of N1.9 billion and as a result of this they disconnected us from the national grid.”

Last month, the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), had explained the rationale behind the blackout in the Southern District of Ondo state, with claims that ‎the people of the communities owed over N1.9 billion.

The Chief State Head of BEDC, Mr. Edgar Earnestin, disclosed this at a forum organized by the company ‎to sensitise customers and provide information on the company’s proposed tarrif review.

At the forum, Edgar vowed that the indebted communities would remain in blackout until ‎they settled their debt with the company.

He explained that the money was part of the accumulated debt incurred from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

He added that the communities had refused to pay the debt since the Benin Electricity Distribution Company ‎(BEDC) took over the control of the power sector as a private firm.

Source: DailyPost

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