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Nauseating pride of BEDC’s boss



Nauseating pride of BEDC’s boss


In Edo, where Osibodu-led BEDC holds sway, customers have had enough. In 2017, something happened in Ekpoma, Edo State…


“If you buy a transformer or anything, the DISCO is supposed to pay you back in a way. You are not supposed to give anything to DISCO for free. There is a regulation. The regulation is that everybody must be metred. The regulation is that each consumer must be metred.”


Fred Itua

When God commanded in Genesis 1:3 “Let there be light”, I doubt if Nigeria was factored into the equation. While the rest of the continent, which was hitherto tagged Dark Continent, has moved on to lit up their countries, Nigeria is still trapped in its inglorious past and an uncertain future. Small and irrelevant countries within the continent, have long fixed their power wahala. But not so for Nigeria, Africa’s so-called giant.

READ ALSO: Much ado about power (2)

The epileptic power situation in Nigeria has defied common sense. It appears as if all the witches and wizards have connived to frustrate any plan to fix our messy power problem. The same witches and wizards have succeeded in frustrating President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to generate 19,000 megawatts before 2019.

After the privatisation of the power sector in 2013 by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) emerged. It was a huge sigh of relief when the landmark feat was achieved. Not many had expected the process to succeed.

Like the telecommunications sector, Nigerians had hoped that the investors were going to pump in some money and revive distribution lines. That expectation is becoming a nightmare. Instead, DISCOs are now agents of darkness. They have become so notorious that Nigerians are not sure if they should defer whatever hope that is left.

Amidst the array of complaints from customers across the various states of the Federation, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), has earned a reputation for itself. The nauseating arrogance of its management, headed by one Funke Osibodu, is suffocating. “I am not sure if there is any iota of humanity flowing through her veins,” an aggrieved customer joked recently.

She treats people with disdain and doesn’t respect any authority, including the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki. Osibodu behaves like the Lord of the Manor. She has defied appeals from senators, members of the House of Representatives, revered traditional rulers and even clergymen. She only listens to herself and calls anybody’s bluff.

There are four states under BEDC. They are Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states. Power consumers in these four states forcefully pay outrageous bills every month, but enjoy darkness in return. Under the dictatorial watch of Osibodu, it is a taboo to complain.

Let me take you through the torture Mrs Osibodu has foisted on customers in Edo and three other states. In early November, I met with the Senate Committee Chairman on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe. With the assistance of his aide, Uche Awom, I explained to the senator how folks in Edo and three other states have been reduced to slaves by the Managing Director of BEDC, Mrs Osibodu.

Senator Abaribe, without delay, arranged for an oversight visit to Benin, Edo State capital. Ten days ago, Senator Abaribe, in company of Senators Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Suleiman Hunkuyi, James Manager and Ahmed Ogembe, touched down in Benin. I was part of the delegation, at least, to witness the hardship foisted on my people by Osibodu-led BEDC.

In her usual sanctimonious posture, she painted a perfect picture of how she has brought succour to the people. Unfortunately for her, the senators were already briefed before the trip. Her sweet tales by moonlight didn’t sway the lawmakers.

The icing on the cake was the town hall meeting the senators held with some aggrieved customers. Like a pack of cards, Mrs Osibodu’s lies crashed in front of her. She was too dazed to speak.

An aggrieved customer who spoke on behalf of others had fired thus: “What we pay for in Benin and in other states is darkness. BEDC has short-changed us. We don’t want them to operate again. Let the Federal Government revoke their licence and give it to a company that has the capacity.

“When the power sector was privatised, all the Distribution Companies boasted that they had the money to run these companies. But I want to tell the senators that BEDC, for instance, has not invested anything. They are not doing enough. They have refused to provide prepaid metres and it’s deliberate.”

A dazed Abaribe said: “We decided to hold a forum here because of the volume of petitions we have received. If we want Nigeria to be better, let us make those who should be held responsible to do that. We can’t blame one side.

“We have generation, transmission and distribution. Transition Company of Nigeria (TCN) said it doesn’t have money to carry repairs of faulty generation lines. TCN is owned by the Federal Government. If the Federal Government doesn’t give them money, who do we blame?

“We are going to a point that anybody who has the money to bring in metres, they should come in and we can do business. What I have seen is the issue of poor services. The Nigerian electricity markets breed difficulty for everybody. What we are looking for is solution.

“Nigeria is made up different cultures and inclinations. We believe that Nigeria should be for everybody. We also believe that we must look at where we are and ensure that we are making progress. We have had many complaints about BEDC. We are here today about one key problem and that is the fact that those who consume electricity find it hard to pay.

“If you buy a transformer or anything, the DISCO is supposed to pay you back in a way. You are not supposed to give anything to DISCO for free. There is a regulation. The regulation is that everybody must be metred. The regulation is that each consumer must be metred.”

Before I conclude, let me make some points. In Edo, where Osibodu-led BEDC holds sway, customers have had enough. In 2017, something happened in Ekpoma, Edo State. Some miscreants reportedly attacked officials of BEDC and destroyed their operational vehicle. The said miscreants were less than 20. The sins of a few led to the disconnection of the entire local government.

Over 150,000 residents wallowed in darkness for almost a year. Traditional rulers stepped in, but were ignored by Osibodu. A serving senator, Clifford Ordia who hails from the area intervened, but Mrs Osibodu called his bluff. The governor of Edo State, Obasaki made frantic efforts to intervene, he was ignored by the same Mrs Osibodu. It took the intervention of the Oba of Benin to restore light in my dear local government.

As I pen this piece, so many communities are currently without power in many parts of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states. They have been deliberately disconnected by BEDC.

BEDC has deliberately refused to metre its customers. Instead, they rely on their crazy estimated billing to rape and rip off customers. Sadly, they have no plans to provide prepaid metres. Whenever electricity transformers or power lines are faulty, BEDC maintains a loud silence.

Communities contribute money to either repair or replace the fault lines and transformers and BEDC has never reimbursed the customers.

If Osibodu lacks empathy and the requisite knowledge to manage people and cater for their needs, let her take a bow.

I so submit!



All hail Senator Ordia

On Wednesday, the Senate passed for third reading nine different bills sponsored by different senators for the establishment of new Federal universities, polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

The passage of the nine bills one of which approved the establishment of a Federal College of Education, Usugbenu-Irrua in Edo State.

The Senate also gave legal backing to the existence of National Institute of Construction Technology and Management, Uromi, Edo State.

Both bills were sponsored by Senator Ordia.

An elated Ordia expressed afterwards: “I am particularly elated that the Bill to establish the Federal College of Education Usugbenu Irrua, Bill 2018 (SB. 536) and also the Bill to establish the National Institute of Construction Technology and Management, Uromi (NICTM) Bill 2018 (SB. 630) in Edo State which I personally sponsored as the Senator representing the good people of Edo Central Senatorial District have been passed by the Senate.

“It will be a fulfilment of purpose when it’s approved by Mr President. This monumental achievement will create long-lasting opportunities for Esan people. A promise made and kept.”

READ ALSO: Saraki, Ekweremadu, Ordia mourn

The post Nauseating pride of BEDC’s boss appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.


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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes



Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers



CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike



Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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