Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has ordered the arrest of some Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) officials, for allegedly removing a transformer bought and installed by a community in the state.
The governor gave the order when a delegation from Ihovbor community, Uhunmwode Local Government Area led by Chief Tony Otakpolor, paid him a protest visit in Benin on Monday.
Obaseki bemoaned BEDC’s alleged lawlessness, noting that it was uncharitable for the company to remove a transformer that was procured by the community and put the people in total darkness.
The governor who gave approval for the purchase of another transformer for the community said: “I am ordering the arrest of officials that have done this.
“If you can’t arrest them, arrest the Managing Director and get him or her to explain why they will remove a transformer bought by the community, throwing them into darkness for 16 months.”
He said the state was having power challenges because it had an “inefficient” electricity distribution company which was holding back progress in the state.
“They will not supply light. When we make alternative arrangements to help ourselves BEDC will do everything to truncate them.
“We have reported the matter to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and I am sure that very soon something positive will be done,” he said.
The governor said his administration was working to make Ihovbor community one of the largest single producers of electricity in Nigeria as it hosts NIPP and Azura power plants.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Politics and Community Affairs, Chief Osaro Idah, said that community barricaded the facility of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in Ihovbor.
Idah said the removal of the transformer bought by the community to an unknown location necessitated the action by the people.
He said: “this act angered the people, who used traditional means to barricade the facility hindering the transmission of electricity.”
Idah said the community bought two transformers two years ago and alleged that BEDC removed one while the other went bad.
He said that all efforts made by the community to make BEDC return the transformer fell on deaf ears, as the people have remained in darkness for 16 months now.
Chief Tony Otakpolor had earlier said that the delegation was at the Government House to lay a complaint about their experiences with officials of BEDC.
The leader of the delegation told the governor that the distribution company had put the entire community in darkness for the past 16 months.
He later thanked the governor for his intervention, promising that the community believed in his administration and would continue to maintain peace.
“I want to thank you for your kind gesture today by ordering the purchase of another transformer for the community,” Otakpolor said.