Posted By: Odunayo Ogunmola, Ado Ekiti
Protesters stand against Police's defence wall
Scores of youths in Afao Quarters, Ikere-Ekiti in Ekiti State, yesterday marched on the streets to protest the destruction of the transformer serving the area.
Also, youths in Mobil area of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, besieged the Ajilosun Business Office of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to protest the destruction of their transformer.
The aggrieved youths, who stormed the BEDC office at 8.am, demanded to see the business manager.
Theylaid siege to the gate as they engaged the guards in a scuffle.
They initially prevented customers who wanted to pay bills from entering the compound and engaged an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in a shouting match.
Residents of Deeper Life Campground area of Ajebamidele also in Ado Ekiti have been in darkness in the last one week, following the theft of some materials in the transformer.
Landlordshave been contributing money to purchase the stolen materials.
The Ikere youths block the major highway passing through the town and held up traffic for some hours.
They said the destruction of the transformer had thrown them into darkness.
Appeals by motorists and commuters fell on deaf ears. Many motorists diverted to other routes.
The protesters alleged that BEDC officials were behind the destruction.
A youth, Gbenga Ogidan, said their grouse was that the transformer was vandalised by experts.
He expressed dismay that Afao Quarters had been in darkness for more two years.
He said: “The youth are of the opinion that BEDC officers vandalised the transformer.
“Robbers’ activities have increased. Many residents can no longer sleep with their eyes closed.”
Another protester, who gave his name as Tope, said: “Nobody without good knowledge of electricity can carry out the act. We suspect that BEDC officials are doing this and that is why we came out to protest.
“It is very painful to deliberately throw people into darkness and an ordinary person cannot vandalise the transformer”
Deputy Governor Kolapo Olusola, an indigene of Ikere, appealed to the youth to remain calm.
He urged them to allow free flow of traffic so that economic and social activities won’t be paralysed.
BEDC spokesman Ilori Brown denied his workers’ involvement.
He said the company cannot do anything at present.
Brown said: “We are not culpable of anything in this matter.
“They removed the transformer and the cable from the former location without our knowledge.
“We don’t know who is working against us. It is pathetic that the youth had to move the transformer without carrying us along. This is a bad thing.”
Speaking on the invasion of Ado Ekiti BEDC office, Brown said the company had received a letter from the elders in the area on the development.
“Their elders brought a letter through their lawyer, which we are just preparing to reply to. We have met with the youth and we told them to defray part of their indebtedness before we can act.
“They promised that they would pay. We have appealed to them and the matter has been resolved”.