Electricity users in Warri and environs have decried the escalating bills the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) give them amidst poor power supply.
“I occupy a two-bedroom apartment. Sometime last year, I was paying N5,000, some months later it was increased to N8,000 and I complained to the bill distributor. I was surprised to receive a N25, 000 bill on Monday, November 15. The same applies to my neighbours. Where are we heading to in this country?” said a retired civil servant, Samson Onogide. “I do not have an air conditioner or an electric cooker in my house. My children are not living with me. So I do not know the reason for the sudden increase. Please BEDC should do something now.”
He added that the billing had soared astronomically even when the power supply had remained erratic.
Another electricity user, Kingsley Osarodion, expressed disgust over the unsubstantiated billing, accusing the electricity provider of unlawfully milking the people.
“This building is our secretariat and I stayed in one of the rooms at the boy’s quarters. It is not a factory neither do we manufacture anything here. Our members hardly come around and we hold meeting here monthly or bi-monthly and everyone returns to their various places of work,” explained Mr Osarodion. “Before now, we were paying N7,000, later it was increased to N12,000, then to N21,000. We complained to the management and they promised to amend it.”
Continuing, he disclosed, “The following month, we were given N24,000. After two months, they increased it to N27,000. The last they brought on Monday is above N40,000. I am using this medium to call BEDC to order before we embark on a serious protest to their offices.”
A widow and mother of three, Onome Smart, said that the economic situation in the country was becoming unbearable for her.
Mrs Smart, who spoke angrily in pidgin, expressed disgust at the skyrocketing monthly bill from BEDC. She asked the electricity firm to come over and remove its wire from her house.
Also, Tobi Olajide urged the BEDC management to work out a modality to ensure every electricity consumer had a prepaid meter to avoid unnecessary billings.
“BEDC has no excuse for the arbitrary billing. All they need do is to issue a meter to every consumer rather than giving people estimated billings,” said Mr Olajide.
Meanwhile, a management employee of the BEDC, who elected to remain anonymous as he was not mandated to speak for the firm, said that the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) was ongoing in the BEDC’s catchment states which include Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo States.
He noted that the NMMP was initiated by the federal government and aimed to address estimated billings in the electricity industry.
The consumers urged the management of the BEDC to adjust their billing pattern “before it results in something else.”
UK stops issuance of visa to Nigerians
The United Kingdom has announced a temporary suspension on reviewing and issuing visitor visa applications from all red list countries, including Nigeria.
The decision was announced in a statement issued on Sunday by the British High Commission.
“To support the UK Government’s aim to protect public health from COVID-19 and associated variants of concern (VOC), UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will pause making decisions on visitor visa applications in all red list countries, including Nigeria, until travel restrictions are lifted,” the statement said.
This comes after Nigeria was placed on the UK’s red list over growing concerns of the recently identified COVID-19 Omicron variant.
“You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve been in a red list country in the previous 10 days unless you are a British or Irish national, have residence rights in the UK,” the commission had said on Sunday.
On Saturday, Peoples Gazette reported Nigeria’s addition to the UK’s “red list”, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid listing the new restrictions that would come into force on Tuesday. These restrictions include out-bound passengers needing to provide either valid evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of departure.
Nigeria, after confirming two cases of the Omicron variant on December 1, joined the list of African countries, except those in North Africa, which have been placed on red lists as high-risk countries.
Governments across the globe have been emplacing travel bans since the Omicron variant was sequenced and identified in South Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that the Omicron variant, now detected in 38 countries, appears to be more contagious than the COVID-19 Delta variant.
APC wins Ekiti council poll boycotted by PDP
The Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission on Sunday declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of all the seats contested in Saturday’s local government councils poll in the state.
The election was boycotted by the main opposition party PDP which claimed that the APC led administration in the state was incapable of organising credible, free and fair elections without violence.
Justice Jide Aladejana, the chairman of the commission, announced that the APC won all the 35 council chairmanship seats and 176 out of the 177 councilorship seats declared.
Mr Aladejana said that the commission had postponed councilorship election in Erinjiyan ward, following violence that broke out during the poll in the town.
He appreciated security agencies and the staff of the commission as well as the electorate for participating in the poll and for their cooperation for the successful conduct of the election.
The election was held across the 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and the 19 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) as well as the 177 wards of the state.
Six other political parties participated in the poll.
They included Action Alliance (AA), African Democratic Congress (ADC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress(APC), National Rescue Movement(NRM), and Young Progressives Party (YPP).
Speaking on the election, Raphael Adeyanju, the state PDP Publicity Secretary, described it as a sham.
Mr Adeyanju said that the result of the election and the obvious low turnout of voters had confirmed fears by the party that the result had already been predetermined by the ruling APC ahead of the poll.
The spokesman also described the conduct of election in the newly created LCDAs as unconstitutional, claiming that since the constitution of Nigeria only recognised the existing sixteen LGAs in state, the election in the 19 LCDAs was an aberration and a waste of resources.
Kogi speaker’s wife dies in Lagos
The wife of the Speaker of Kogi House of Assembly, Esther Zainab Kolawole, is dead.
Femi Olugbemi, spokesman to the speaker, Matthew Kolawole, announced this in a statement on Sunday.
He said the deceased died in the early hours of Sunday in a Lagos state hospital.
The statement stated that Mrs Kolawole was 50-years and died after a brief illness.
According to him, the burial arrangements will be announced later.
He said she is survived by her husband, children, siblings and an aged mother.
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