Scores of residents in Akure, Ondo State, on Monday stormed the office of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company(BEDC), to protest against their alleged extortion by the electricity company.
The protesters, who were landlords in Ajayi Elekumo Estate in the Alagbaka area of the capital city, blocked the entrance into the BEDC office and prevented officials of the company from gaining access to the premises.
The group carried placards with different inscriptions, including, ‘FGN, this is wickedness,’ ‘We deserve a better life,’ ‘BEDC is evil,’ ‘BEDC enough of this cheating,’ ‘BEDC don’t force us to buy cables,’ among others.
They alleged that BEDC officials were ‘killing’ them with outrageous bills, adding that the company had not been supplying the estate with electricity for a long time.
One of the protesters, Mr. Fredrick Ojo, emphasised that they would no longer take billings because the estate had not had electricity in the last eight months.
He said, “We demand an end to ridiculous and outrageous estimated bills. All cases of billing without electricity and humongous bills should be reviewed.
“Everybody should be metered and no impediment should be placed in the way of acquisition of the meters.”
Also, a member of the estate, Oluseye Olujimi, said the BEDC forced the residents to buy cables from a particular supplier, alleging that the cables were inferior.
“No one should be forced to buy cables from BEDC; 16mm cannot be better than 35mm. If anyone needs to change their cables, they should not be forced to buy from a particular vendor.
“Our rights to freedom of choice and self-determination cannot be abridged,” he added.
The Chief State Head, Ondo/Ekiti State, BEDC, Mrs Kunbi Labiyi, in a statement on Monday, said the firm’s Akure business management team met with members of the Elekumo layout on January 25, 2020.
She stated that during the meeting, the concerns of the residents, which included poor power supply, unjustified estimated bills and debt reconciliation challenges, were addressed.
According to Labiyi, another meeting has been scheduled with the residents.