“We are not afraid to demand for our right, and fairness, after 10 years of excruciating outage, despite having a power plant on our soil that supplies electricity to Ikeja in Lagos State, Ogun, Benin and Delta states. It is injustice that we the host communities have remained in perpetual darkness.”
With these words yesterday, residents of four local governments in the southern part of Ondo State announced their plan, despite alleged threats by security agents, to peacefully protest at Omotosho power plant against the cutting off of their areas from the national grid by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) since 2014.
The affected local councils, Okitipupa, Irele, Ilaje and Ese-Odo, have been in darkness for the past four years due to massive disconnection by the BEDC, while some communities, including Omotoso which hosts the power plant, have not had electricity supply in the last 10 years.
The protest, coming barely one month after a similar one at Ore, was initially planned to hold yesterday, under the auspices of Bring Back Our Light (BBOL), but was shifted to allow participation by more groups.
In a statement, BBOL said the action was engendered by “refusal by the BEDC to comply with the local content agreement and obey the resolution of July 6, 2017 by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) which directed the distribution company to immediately hook the affected communities back to the national grid following proof of illegal cut off established before the commission by our people.”
The group alleged that the BEDC and the management of the Omotosho power plant have sponsored deployment of security agents at the facility to prevent the rally from holding.“We notify the people of Ondo South in Ondo State that this peaceful protest will hold despite all the threats by security agencies which are being sponsored against us. We are only expressing our grievances in line with the law of this country and with the latest ruling of the Supreme Court. All necessary notices have been served to those concerned,” the group said in the statement signed by its leaders, Olumide Akinrinlola and Solomon Bitire.