Asaba Residents Protest 6 Months Power Outage

*Map of Asaba, the Delta State capital





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By Carol V. Utulu

Residents of Bonsaac area of Asaba on Tuesday took to the street to protest power outage in the axis for about six months now.

The residents attributed the blackout to alleged failure by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to replace a damaged transformer in the area.

The protesters, mainly youths and women, carried placards with various inscription and called on government to intervene in the ugly situation.

One of the protesters, Mr Samuel Okonta, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they had endured the “traumatic” six months of darkness, following the failure of BEDC to replace the transformer.

“We are calling on government to sack BEDC as an electricity distribution company because it is obvious it lacks the capacity to perform.

“For over six month now, our community has been in total darkness because BEDC has refused to give us a functional transformer.

NAN reports that some of the placards read, “BEDC must go,” “Government should sack BEDC” “BEDC is a failed company.”

The Chairman of the Bonsaac Community Development Committee, Mr. Micheal Morah, said that the distribution company had failed to live up to its responsibility of rendering service to the people.

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He said: “Since over six months our transformer got burnt and we wrote to BEDC, it has not responded.

“We even went as far as going to meet them to find a way to solve the problem, but all to no avail.

“The Bonsaac community bought the old transformer, and maybe they are still expecting us to buy another transformer again.

“We pay our bills regularly and as such it is the duty of BEDC as a service provider to replace any damaged electricity installation.”

Morah said  other service providers like the telecom sector usually replaced their damaged equipment without tasking the customers to make such replacement.

When contacted, Mrs Esther Okolie, BEDC’ Public Affairs Officer, faulted the resolve of the residents to take to protest rather than “coming to BEDC for a formal complaint.”

“They did not come to our office and if they have police permit to stage a protest they could have at least, reached our office.

“Since they have decided that protest is the only way to express their grievance, I cannot comment on the matter,” Okolie said.

(NAN)

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