Electricity tariff: Organised labour shuts BEDC office in Ekiti, warns against extortion

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Electricity tariff: Organised labour shuts BEDC office in Ekiti, warns against extortion
By; Oladele Adedayo, Ado-Ekiti.
Dissatisfied with the tariff increase proposal by the National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), Organised labour in Ekiti State yesterday thronged the streets of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital and sealed the situation office of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
The labour leaders, led by the Chairmen of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Odunayo Adesoye and his counterpart in the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ade  Adesanmi, besieged the BEDC office at about 8.23am to picket it.
The men and officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), had to prevail on them to rescind on their decision to enter the building and chased out the staff that were at their duty posts.
After the threat issued by the labour leaders, the staff rushed out of the building to forestall being manhandled by the visibly angry protesters.
Unions that participated included: Non-Academic Staff Union, Federal Polytechnic chapter, Ekiti State Public Service Joint Negotiating
Council, Academic Staff Union of Secondary School, Nigerian Civil
Service Union, among others.
Addressing the protesters and passers-by, the TUC Chairman, condemned the Distribution Companies in Nigeria over what he described as ‘arbitrary charges and extortion’
Adesoye urged the federal government to call them to order by
instructing that the tariff increase proposal be shelved.
Adesoye said the picket exercise does not contravene the
constitution, describing their action as legal and in conformity with
the directives of the national secretariat of the trade unions.
“Nigerians don’t want arbitrary charges again. How can the Discos
increased tariff by 45%? This is unacceptable to Nigerians, particularly coming at a time when workers at the state level were not being paid as and when due.
“We want the DISCOs to provide prepaid metres for all electricity users and stop this arbitrary and extortionate bills being imposed on
Nigerians.
“They won’t give regular supply of power, yet they bring bills every month. We don’t know the parameters they were using to calculate our bills.
“We viewed the tariff increase as another attempt to impoverish
Nigerians. This is a glaring robbery. They want to ensure that all
businesses collapsed so that more Nigerians will be forced out of jobs over inability to pay electricity bills, we won’t allow this to happen”, he said.
The NLC Chairman, who was represented by his Secretary, Patrick
Olayemi, added that “this country belongs to all of us and we are
operating democracy, so we want DISCO’s to be democratic in arriving at any new bill for Nigerians. They should not be arbitrary.
“We demand explanation from them whether Nigerians are currently enjoying regular power supply to warrant new tariff. Do they expect the citizens to pay for the services not rendered?” he queried.

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