Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State said he has instructed the State Attorney-General to file criminal negligence charhes against the management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), over the electrocution of Benedict Pius Sanni, a JSS 3 student of Eyaen Secondary School in Uhunmwode Local Government Area, the State.
Benedict was electrocuted on Thursday, 12 July, 2018, by naked high tension cables from fallen BEDC electric poles alleged to have been down for over 72 hours before the deceased stepped on them.
The management of BEDC was said to have ignored repeated call of its attention to the danger posed by the cables.
Speaking at the 4th National Council on Power event, holding in the State, Governor Obaseki who accused the BEDC management of negligence , also decried the poor supply of electricity to the State and of frustrating a power deal with Ossiomo Power and Infrastructure Company Limited, to supply electricity to government offices in the State capital.
He berated the company for their alleged resolve not to supply pre-paid meters to electricity consumers and its culture of over-billing its clients, even as he explained that no community in the State enjoys more than eight hours of electricity supply daily, despite her status as the power hub of the country.
“The people are over-billed with the estimated billing system of BEDC. We lost a student due to the negligence of BEDC, for refusing to fix a pole that was knocked down after receiving money to fix it. I have instructed the Attorney General of Edo State to file charges of criminal negligence against the senior management of BEDC,” Obaseki said.
The Governor noted that BEDC has in the last 12 months been writing petitions against the deal sealed between Edo State Government and Ossiomo Power and Infrastructure Company Limited, for the purchase of five megawatts of electricity to light up government offices in Benin City, and stressed that the petitions have hindered the success of the purchase agreement.
According to him, “One hundred and ninety-five communities have never seen electricity as BEDC is not ready to extend electricity to these communities. 128 communities have issues of collapse of infrastructure which BEDC is not prepared to fix. 219 transformers purchased by the state government and the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) as replacements for faulty transformers are yet to be installed by BEDC.”
Obaseki further alleged that the electricity distribution company has continued to deliver poor services to Edo people and maintained that evidence abound of deliberate attempt on the part of BEDC not to sell or distribute meters to customers.
He added that “as a government we have extended our cooperation to resolve some of these problems, but the company has remained uncooperative.”
Earlier, the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Louis Edozien, expressed his appreciation to the people of Edo State for the hospitality extended to the power conference participants.
He lauded Obaseki’s approach to governance as attested to by Edo people and residents, and explained that the country currently produces 7,000MW of electricity, but regretted that it is only able to distribute 5,000MW, leaving the country with unused 2,000MW, due to transmission challenges.