As the Monday, June 21, 2021 day slated for protest against the alleged highhandedness of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) in Ogbomoso draws near, pressure is being heavily brought upon the leadership of the Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum (OCYF), which is championing the protest to shelve the plan, ogbomosoinsightonline.com has learnt.
According to information, both the police Area Command office, Ogbomoso and the authorities of the IBEDC have been making strenuous efforts to thwart the protest which has become popular in the community, and have resorted to appealing to community leaders to persuade the organizers against going ahead with it.
It was learnt that several tripartite meetings had been held among the police, IBEDC and the organizers, which were stalemated as the IBEDC officials reportedly disclosed they could not make available the initially demanded 150 prepaid meters of the 250 who had reportedly paid for the meters many years ago, as a first step.
President of the youth organization, Rev’d Peter Olaleye confirmed the development saying the IBEDC manager Ogbomoso Business District and his officials at the meeting kept saying such decision was beyond their power that the decision would come from the Ilorin office.
“Yes, we held a meeting at the Area Commander’s Office at Owode, that involved IBEDC officials and our group. The area commander asked us to state our cases and we presented ours with evidences which IBEDC could not controvert.
“These included prepaid meter racketeering among IBEDC staff, non-release of meters to those who had paid as far back as six years ago, strange coding of meters, crazy bills, and upon all burdening customers with repairs of transformers, poles and cables. This open day cheating which I will even describe as robbery is what we demand must stop, we are not fighting anyone.
“We have been on this issue for the past seven months or so when we held series of meetings with them during which we confronted them with our findings and they promised to be responsible but nothing has changed, our people cannot remain silent in the face of injustice. But their body language, even till now, shows they have no intention of changing or repent.”
He however affirmed that community leaders whom he did not mention have been appealing to them to shelve the protest.
According to Olaleye the elders “are of the view that the current security situation in the country is not auspicious. They said they don’t want a situation where hoodlums will hijack the protest and lead to looting, destruction of properties and even casualties. They advise that it should be postponed to a future date, when the situation becomes auspicious. We are being called to meetings and through phone calls.”
He stressed this is the line of argument of the police too whom he believed are also in support of forcing IBEDC to toe the path of prudence but hamstrung by their position as enforcement agents, “The police also fear street urchins could turn the protest to something else.”
Asked what the next step would be, he said the body would have to meet and consider the developments adding that he just received a call from IBEDC that about ten prepaid meters would be handed out on Saturday, June 19.