The management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) Plc. has commended residents of Illah community in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State for their roles in the arrest of electricity vandals.
Head, Community Relations, Mr. Simple Ugherakpoteni, who made the commendation on behalf of the Cheif Executive Officer, Funke Osibodu, at a ceremony organised to honour members of the anti-cult group who caught the vandals and handed them over to the police for prosecution, further commended the community for its vigilance over BEDC network.
The ceremony was took place Ogbelani of Illah, HRM, Obi Sylvester Jugai.
While decring the rising case of vandalism across its franchise areas, the Head, Community Relations described electricity vandalism and theft as economic crime.
He further described the act as an act of sabotage against the good purpose and intents of the company.
According to him, vandalism of electricity distribution network and other forms of electrical thefts are serious threats to power sector sustainability and economic growth.
While insisting that increasing vandalism will force the company to spend money meant to improve electricity infrastructure to repair or replace damaged and stolen installations, Mr. Ugherakpoteni lamented that the power sector has been the most hit in the most devastating manner.
“The fight against electricity vandals is a collective responsibility that can only be sustained through collective effort and increased partnership,” he said.
The Head, Community Relations, while appreciating the effort of Illah community, presented a life insurance policy for 5 members of the anti-cult group and cartons of energy.
He said it will help them pay less for power usage and also enjoined other communities to emulate and take ownership of BEDC assets in their various localities, “since they are the direct users of these facilities.”
The Ogbelani of Illah, HRM, Obi Sylvester Jugai, thanked the management of BEDC for its gesture and reiterated the community’s commitment in ensuring that the electricity facilities and equipment are well secured and protected to avoid being thrown into blackout.
He insisted on improved community and neighbourhood relations with BEDC staff in order to collectively fight against electricity vandals.
In a related development, cases of high-tension cable conductor vandalism at Esaba, Otutuaima, Oghangbla and Iuhre-Ogun communities in Ughelli South Local Government area of Delta State, were also reported according to the company.
Recall efforts by BEDC at curbing the menace of vandalism on its network will be received a boost with the sentencing of one David James to three years imprisonment by a Benin Magistrate Court 6 in Egor Local Government area of Edo state recently.
Anxiety As Owan Forest Communities Drag Edo State Government To ECOWAS Court
There is intense uneasiness and tongue-wagging around Edo State, as the state government has been dragged to the Community Court of Justice Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS), Abuja, by over 45 forested and agrarian communities of the Owan Forest Zone of the state, spreading across its four local government areas of Ovia North East, Uhunmwode, Owan West and Owan East.
The suit, reference no:ECW /CCJ/APP/22/22, was filed on 11 May, 2022, by its First Plaintiff, the Incorporated Trustees of the Okpamakhin Community Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), comprising farmers and other land users, drawn from the cluster communities (clans) of Irhue, Ozalla, Ora, Iuleha, Sobe and others.
The Second Plaintiffs are eight men and women, who are farmers and other land users of the forest zone.
The suit was filed by the communities’ lawyer on the matter, President Aigbokhan, Esq., with his legal team.
Aigbokhan, a Benin-based Freedom of Information (FOI) protagonist and human rights lawyer, had recently won a major suit at the same ECOWAS Court, against Edo State Government, with thousands of US Dollars damages to the petitioners.
By the ECOWAS Court’s suit, the ranging disputes on the forest zone, between the state government and the communities, also called Okpamakhin, seems to have come to a climax.
Over a year ago, the state governor, Mr. Obaseki, in conjunction with Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, inaugurated a N69 billion fund for establishment of oil palm plantations in the state, bringing forward some foreign and local private companies and local growers of oil palm as beneficiaries.
Governor Obaseki told newsmen that he had earmarked tens of thousands of the state’s forest reserve estate for the project, which continued to be under disputes.
The statutory Defendant in the suit is the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), who stands in for state governments on such matters as with the ECOWAS Court, pursuant to the FRN’s being a founding member state of ECOWAS, subject to the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court and loyalty of FRN to the various charters and protocols of the United Nations, African and ECOWAS, as well as Nigeria’s local laws and regulations.
In the suit, the first and second plaintiffs prayed the regional Court to amongst other things, protect their inalienable rights and get judgment against the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led government, who had ceded their communities’ vast ancestral forest reserves to private investors, to establish oil palm plantations and other agricultural activities, without their due information, consultation and consent.
Some of the Plaintiffs’ claims, which they also want the Court to stop, are the forceful takeover of their ancestral land by the State Government, with undue harassment of the communities and the locals by heavily armed policemen, stating that the land within the two forest reserves of Owan BC 10 Forest Reserve and Iuleha/Ora/Ozalla, that form a larger part of the Owan Forest Zone, is the communities mainstay, that were acquired by the British Colonial Government, who was duly accountable to their local communities, owners of the land, whereas the present state government, who the land was simply handed to should not act to the contrary
[JUST IN] Fuel Scarcity: Airline Operators Announce Flight Disruption, Cancellation
The Airline Operators of Nigeria have announced plans to disrupt scheduled flight operations over the scarcity of aviation fuel.
The announcement was contained in a statement titled, ‘Public notice: Disruptions in flight operations’, on Monday.
In the statement signed by AON’s spokesperson, Prof. Obiora Spokesman, the operators lamented that aviation fuel scarcity would lead to flight rescheduling and cancellations.
The notice read, “The Airline Operators of Nigeria wish to alert the public of impending disruptions to scheduled flight operations of members of the association. This development is being forced on members by the growing scarcity of aviation fuel popular as Jet-Al.
“The scarcity is impacting negatively on the seamless conduct of air transport operations and would lead to flight rescheduling, and, or, cancellations.
“However, the association and its members are working very hard, and in alliance with product marketers, government and relevant stakeholders, to ensure availability and proper pricing of aviation fuel in the country.
“While pleading the understanding of the flying public in the face of this reality, we also promise to do all that is necessary, and within our powers, to restore normal flight schedules as soon as possible.”
Edo: IOM, Laliga Hold Football Tournament To Sensitise Young Girls On Dangers Of Irregular Migration
As a way of using football as a tool in bringing out the potential of the girl child and enlightening her on the dangers of irregular migration, the International Organization for Migration in collaboration with Laliga and Nigerian Women Football League (NWFL) organised a novelty football tournament between Nigerian Women Football League and female returnees.
The initiative was also aimed at raising awareness on migration challenges, addressing trafficking in persons through football and also promoting gender equality through football.
Speaking as a member of panel of discussants at the event which was held at the indoor complex of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin on Saturday, wife of Edo State governor, Mrs. Besty Obaseki, while thanking initiators of the event, emphasized the need to educate and enlighten young girls on what they can do with their lives particularly when they toe the path of football.
While speaking on how the Edo State government takes gender-based violence seriously, Mrs. Obaseki said machineries have been put in place across the 18 local government areas to pursue any reported case to a reasonable conclusion..
On his part, deputy governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, said the programme came at the right time because Edo is redefining how sport management should be in the country.
He said the state government takes a special recognition and focuse much on the young girls so as to promoting their potential, adding that to move against gender discrimination, players of Edo Queens Football Club earn same amount as Insurance Football Club, both owned by the state government.
Also speaking as a panelist, Cyprine Cheptepkeny, IOM awareness Raising Officer, said the organization discovered that football can be used as a tool in enlightening and sensitising young girls on dangers of irregular migration hence the tournament.
She noted that over the years, IOM has observed that some of the returnees are good at playing football and can even play outside the country if such potential is fully put into use.
While noting that the programme was also aimed at looking at how football can be used to address gender equality and gender based violence, Cheptepkeny added: “Nigeria is the biggest in Africa as regards football, so we are looking at football as a tool that can be used to sensitise and educate our young girls as regards issues of irregular migration and promoting safe and legal migration.
“Not only that, we are also looking at how we can use football and this platform to discuss issues of gender equality and gender-based violence.
Also contributing to the discussion, Aisha Falode, President of Nigeria Women Football League, urged young girls to be hardworking and focused, adding that “there is dignity in hardwork; there is reward in hard labour; there is no shortcut to success.”
Laliga ambassador, Mr. Mutiu Adepoju, an ex-Super Eagles player urged young girls to be disciplined and work hard, adding that if they use discipline as their watchword and work hard, it will pay them in the long run.
The novelty football match between female returnees and Nigeria Women Football League ended in a goalless draw.
Mutiu Adepoju, ex-Super Eagles player and his female counterpart, Anair Lomba Alvarez, both Laliga ambassadors were at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin to witness the novelty match.
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