Protest in Delta community over 7 years of power outage

Tired of power outage for the past seven years, hundreds of residents of Mosogar in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State on Monday staged a protest calling on relevant authorities to address the situation ahead of Christmas.

The protesters comprising youths of both sexes and older folks stormed the Mosogar junction of the ever-busy Benin-Warri expressway causing gridlock for several hours.

Armed with placards with messages expressing their grievances, the protesters said efforts to redress the seven-year-old power outage had hit the rocks.

They accused the distribution company, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) of incompetence and called for the withdrawal of the company’s licence.

President-General of Mosogar, Chief Columbus Akporoka, while speaking to journalists during the protest, said as part of efforts to resolve the lingering blackout, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had provided the needed transformers.

He, however, added that the contractor handling the installation of the transformers has been slow in completing the job.

“The contractor handling the project is a bit slow and the project is about 80 per cent completed. I think the youths are restless,” he said, but called on the protesters to exercise patience as the contractor had been spurred to speed up the job.

A former chairman of Ethiope West Local Government Area, Dr Wilson Omene, told journalists that the power issue has become a leeway for extortion by some community leaders who regularly request gratification.

He also slammed the service provider saying: “Let them tell us where we stand; you can’t expect us to buy transformer and donate it to BEDC.

“We wrote to BEDC, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and other government agencies.

“We have met with BEDC for a way forward, but all to no avail. We are paying our bills and it is the duty of the service provider to replace any damaged installation, and any issue they will ask us to pay.”

Reacting to the protest which grounded vehicle movement between Benin and Warri for over five hours, the head of BEDC Corporate Affairs, Benin City, Adekunle Tayo, said although his company was aware of the Delta State’s contribution to the ongoing installation, BEDC had no information on the extent of job done.

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