Edo CSOs Reject Anti-Electricity Theft Bill


Members of Edo State Civil Society Organi-sations at the weekend protested against the Anti-electricity Theft Bill newly passed by the state House of Assembly as well as estimated billing for consumers.
The Assembly had last Monday passed the bill which criminalises electricity theft, including meter bypass.
Named “Electricity Theft Offence,” the bill prescribed a special court for electricity consumers in the Benin Electricity Distribution Company who bypass meters and engage in illegal connection.
During the protest, the activists who were dressed in black attire and displayed placards with various inscriptions, chanted solidarity slogans.
They vowed to resist the bill which they described as anti-people and advised Governor Godwin Obaseki not to sign the bill into law.
Omobude Agho, who led the protest, said issues of estimated billing, poor services and provision of meters must be addressed before the bill could be passed into law.
He said, “Edo people should not be seen to be doing the bidding of the BEDC. This law is anti-people and must be rejected. The BEDC is out to exploit Edo people and must be resisted.”
Talakawa’s Parliament, an affiliate of Network of Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria, described the anti-electricity theft bill as “draconian, monstrous, satanic, obnoxious and fiendish.”
The spokesman for the group, Kola Edokpayi, accused the state House of Assembly of colluding with the management of the BEDC to pass the bill without consulting their constituents.
“It is obvious that the state House of Assembly members are working with the BEDC to send Edo people to prison,” he said.
Meanwhile, the group has asked Obaseki to reopen the Central Hospital built by his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, and opened by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2016.
It also called on the governor to reopen all state-owned tertiary institutions which had been shut by his administration.