Commercial and social activities were disrupted in Okitipupa, Ondo State, on Wednesday as over 1000 youths held a peaceful march to protest 10 years of total power outage in the area.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protesters, comprising barbers, welders, tailors, hairdressers and other artisans, blocked all access roads into Okitipupa as traders closed shops for safety.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as “Bring back our light”, “No light, no election”, “Enough of Darkness”, “We are tired of government insensitivity,” among others.
The protesters, who sang solidarity songs, marched from Ayeka area of the town to the army checkpoint at New Garage in Okitipupa while policemen and soldiers were on ground to prevent breakdown of law and order.
Gere Moyebi, leader of the protesters, told newsmen that the 10 years power outage was no longer bearable for residents of the area.
He said that Benin Electricity Distribution Company disconnected the area from the national power grid 10 years ago, thus crippling business activities and plunging the area into total darkness.
Moyebi said that the group embarked on the protest to send strong signals to the government when all efforts to ensure that electricity was restored in the area proved abortive.
He said: “How can six local government areas be plunged into total darkness for the past 10 years without the state government’s intervention.
“This power outage have crippled our businesses and made life unbearable for us and our families because our political representatives in the state and federal level are fighting for their pockets.
“We will continue to demand for our rights and there will be no election in the state in 2019 unless our areas are reconnected to the national grid.”
NAN reports that 26 youth groups from six local government areas of Okitipupa, Odigbo, Irele, Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Ile Oluji/Oke-Igbo had on Aug. 1 blocked the Benin-Ore expressway to protest the 10-year-old power outage in the area.