Residents groan as alleged N15m BEDC unpaid tax throws Ado Ekiti into darkness

electricity, power

Ayodele. Adesanmi. Ado Ekiti

Residents of Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend querrried the authorities of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, (BEDC) to address the controversial N15m tax debt allegedly owed the Ado Ekiti Local Government

A cross section of the concerned residents who spoke on the issue at a public enlightenment programme during weekend in Ado Ekiti, said such payment had become necessary so as to make the local government unseal the BEDC premises sealed since last month.

The people lamented that Ado Ekiti, which also doubles as the major commercial centre of the state had since been thrown into total darkness for about a week now due to the unresolved crisis.

Some of them, including Mr Olawale Ogungbe, Mr Tunde Shitu and Mrs Yetunde Lawal, argued that continued dragging of the debt issue, rather than resolving the differences between them was now making life difficult for many homes while businesses are suffering.

They however residents suffering double losses at the end of the day, as the non supply of electricity to the city for the last week would still not stop the BEDC from bringing it’s bills, in addition to huge anticipatory bills most homes and business premises had been receiving in the past, for services not adequately enjoyed.

But the Public Relations Officer of BEDC in the state, Mr Ilori Brown in his reaction at the programme insisted that the reason why the said money had not been paid was that the distribution company did not believe it had any financial obligations to make to any LGA, except only the state government, which it had been doing as and when due.

He also clarified that though it is true BEDC office was sealed, that development did not largely account for current state of total blackout, explaining that it was due largely to technical fault which would be fixed soon.

He said the distribution company was contemplating legal option on the matter to achieve a lasting resolution.

” It is not as if we are owing money as such. What happened is that BEDC is operating in four states of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states, and what the Ado local government is requesting, we are not paying such in other three states, and our question is Ekiti case different ?

” Only recently, we paid over N13 million to the state government as tenement rate and other charges, so we are not defaulters

” What we are guiding against now is that, there are a total of 16 LGA’s in Ekiti, about 18 in Ondo State and so on in other states, so if we succumb to them now, it means every other council areas will now begin to do same.

” Since we do not operate only in Ekiti state, we feel this demand is not applicable to other three states”, he said.

The council had, on 28th April, sealed off the State BEDC office located along the Ajilosun area of the state capital, on the orders of the Chairman of the LGA, Mrs Omotunde Fajuyi.

Mrs Fajuyi had said “They have not paid anything since December 2013 for their operational permit and their landlord too has not paid tenement rate, all amounting to N15 m

” We sent several messages of reminder to them but no single response was received, so we are left with no other option than to take action”.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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