• Accuse govt, BEDC of insensitivity to 10-year power outage in communities
No fewer than 26 youth groups in Ondo State, under the aegis of Ondo South Advancement and Welfare Consultative Association (OSAWA), have threatened to shut down the Lagos-Ore-Benin Expressway to protest against 10 years of power outage.
Leading the coalition to a media briefing in Akure at the weekend, General Secretary of United Action for Democracy (UAD), Kunle Wiseman Ajayi, said the youths would shut down the road on Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
Some of the groups are, Ilaje and Ese-odo Progressive (IEP), Ilaje Advancement Forum (IAF), Ilaje Youth Frontier (IYF), Ese-Odo Possibility Group (EPG), Ijaw Peace Union (IPU), Ikale Youth Vanguard (IYV) and Okitipupa Concerned Youth (OCY).
Others are, Ikale Youth Ambassadors (IYA), Irele Patriotic Youth Movement (IPYM), Odigbo Progressive Youth (OPY), Ore Advancement Movement (ORM), Ileoluji/Okeigbo Youth Forum (IYF), Ikale World Youth Congress (IWYC).
Ajayi said youths from six councils of the state’s South senatorial district namely: Odigbo, Okitipupa, Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Irele and Okeigbo/Ileoluji councils would converge on Ore, headquarters of Odigbo Council on Wednesday at 6am to protest power outage in the area. He said that the power problem has brought untold hardship on the people, led to the collapse of small and medium businesses, as well as impoverished residents of the communities.
Besides, the power outage in the district, especially in the riverine communities, he added: “We have a situation where a lot of people are overbilled; the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) only cares about its profit rather than provide power for the people.”
Ajayi disclosed that the protest was necessary due to BEDC, state and Federal Government’s insensitivity to the power outage in the district.He said the youths and other stakeholders had made several efforts and urged government to look into their demands. Ajayi also called on Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to proffer solution to the issue within the next 14 days.
The groups added that the state government failed to meet the ultimatum that elapsed on July 5, 2018, lamenting that Akeredolu does not give the south district the needed attention.They stated that the privatisation of the power sector was anti-people, anti-development and anti-progress,” urging the Federal Government to revoke the licences of distribution companies.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order the Minister of Power to revoke the licences of all electricity distribution companies in the country,” they added. Appealing to the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the public on the protest, they insisted: “There will be no movement on the Lagos-Ore-Benin expressway on Wednesday, August 1, 2018.”