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UNIBEN students shut down Benin-Ore highway over power outage



Students of the University of Benin on Wednesday took to the streets, blocking the ever-busy Benin-Ore Highway to protest weeks of power outage on the campus.

The students, who have only two weeks until their first semester examinations, said the situation was severely affecting their preparation.

It was gathered that the university was thrown into a blackout following the inability to reach an agreement with the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) over a contentious electricity bill.

The management of the institution was said to have expressed discontent after the Benin Disco reportedly made an upward review of the institution’s monthly electricity charges by over 200 per cent.

The monthly bill was said to have jumped from about N80 million to between N200 and N280 million, forcing the university to resort to power generators as well as rationalisation of power on the two campuses and hostels.

They said, “We only had one hour of electricity every day since this issue started. We are tired of studying in the dark.

“We need electricity to read and prepare for our exams. The university management needs to take responsibility and fix this issue,” said John Afolabi, one of the protesting students.

The protest, which began early in the morning, saw students carrying placards and chanting slogans as they blocked the highway.

“We will not leave until something is done. We can’t afford to fail our exams because of the university’s negligence, said Sarah Osaigbovo, a 300 level student of the Ugbowo campus.”

It was reported that the protest caused a significant disruption to the free flow of vehicular movement, with many passengers stranded and unable to reach their destinations.

A visibly angry commuter, who refused to disclose his name said, “I’m supposed to be at work right now, but I’ve been stuck here for hours.

“I understand the students’ plight, but they need to find a better way to protest.”

In spite of the rainfall, the students were hellbent to continue the rampage.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Dr Benedicta Ehanire, said meeting of the Senate was ongoing on how to resolve the issue.

Usman Aliyu

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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