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Lockdown: BEDC Donates 6,000 Bags Of Rice, Others To Franchise States As Palliative

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…Assures Stable Power Supply To COVID-19 Centres, Others

As part of efforts to cushion the effect of the lockdown occasioned by the novel coronavirus, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) Plc, has donated 6,000 5kg bags of rice and 4,000 cartons of Idomie noodles to the governments of Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo states for onward distribution to the vulnerable groups and households in these franchise states.

The breakdown shows 1,500 5kg bags of rice for each state and 1,000 cartons of Idomie noodles for each state respectively.

Making the announcement and the consequent presentation of the palliative to Edo State government on behalf of the Managing Director of the company in Benin, Mr. Abu Ejoor, the Executive Director Commercial, said, as a company that is sensitive to the residents of franchise states, BEDC is set to further donate 50 units of motorised hand washing gears to strategic markets, and some communities under the DISCO.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Palliatives: Presidency, Ndume In Verbal War

Ejoor added that, as part of the company’s support, stable power supply up to 24hours would be ensured in various government established COVID-19 centres and related hospitals.

Mr. Osarodion Ogie (left) and Mr. Abu Ejoor, during the presentation at the government house, Benin

” This has already commenced in Irrua Specialist Hospital in Uromi, Edo Central Hospital where we also intend to look at other supports we can give in ensuring that some of their vehicles/ambulances are fully operational. Also, for the centres under preparation in Oba Adejuyigbe Specialist Hospital, Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State and Warri in Delta State, BEDC has already commenced working with the government to ensure adequate electricity”, he added.

The Executive Director emphasised that BEDC has increased significantly, power availability to several customers in its coverage areas, stressing that the process of boosting the present grid power with additional power supply source through embedded generation has commenced.

He announced that the company has, in this trying time, suspended the ratotional load management schedule for several areas to enable customers enjoy more supply in their different locations.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Group Partners Edo Govt To End Spread 

On the recent proposal by the House of Representatives to promote free electricity for two months, Ejoor said though BEDC align with the proposal, it is not yet signed into law hence electricity currently supplied to customers is not free.

He added, ” Though BEDC fully align with the proposal by the House of Representatives to promote free electricity supply to all Nigerians for 2 months to make life easier during the lockdown period over COVID-19 pandemic, this is not yet signed into law, as such the electricity currently supplied to customers is not free.”

The food items to donated by BEDC to Edo State government for onward distribution to the vulnerable groups and households

Receiving the food items on behalf of the Edo State government, Mr Osarodion Ogie, Esq., thanked the management of BEDC for supporting the government in reaching out to the vulnerable in the society in this trying time.

He lamented that, due to the outbreak of the pandemic and the consequent lockdown, many families lifestyles have changed for the worst, as he called on individuals, corporate bodies to toe the path of BEDC.

He noted that, with what the distribution company has done, it shows the management is with the government in the fight against the pandemic.

READ ALSO:COVID-19: Warri-based Billionaire Pastor Doles Out N1.1billion Charity, Challenges Others To Give

Bags of rice and Indomie noodles to donated by BEDC

He said, “People have lost jobs; people who are into daily earnings cannot earn anything again. And the vulnerable people are feeling it more than some of us who are on salary. So, we are appealing to corporate bodies and individuals to assist the government.”

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Workers Panic As Lagos Waterworks Sacks 450

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Employees of the Lagos State Water Corporation are currently in a state of anxiety as the state government sacked 450 casual workers last week Thursday.

The PUNCH learnt on Thursday that the affected staff members were shocked when they were served with sack letters on Tuesday and given an ultimatum to surrender all the government property in their care.

It was learnt that the decision to sack the workers jolted some of the staff members who were not affected by the exercise.

Some of the workers who spoke with our correspondent who visited one of the state waterworks on Thursday expressed fear that they might suffer a similar fate.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Late Alaafin’s Son, Abdulfatai Is Dead

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a staff member told PUNCH Metro that many of the laid-off staff members had spent several years working with the corporation.

She said, “Nobody knew this was going to happen. We were all shocked that a large number of people could be sacked in a day. Currently, these waterworks no longer have casual workers.

“One of my friends was affected by the decision. She has a family she is taking care of. She doesn’t even know where to start. She left the office weeping last week. Even if they are going to sack anyone, they should have given people more time to find alternatives.”

Meanwhile, The PUNCH further probe showed that the workers were laid off due to a claim that the state government wanted to undergo restructuring despite the current shortage of staff.

READ ALSO: NJC Sacks Osun Judge, Rejects Adeleke’s Request To Suspend CJ

“We don’t have enough staff. As big as this place is, only one person is left to clean it. There were many of us at the maintenance units before. But now there are just the three of us left,” one employee said on condition of anonymity.

“They said they are restructuring, but how many staff will need to be sacked before this is accomplished?” another source queried in a separate interview with The PUNCH.

However, when contacted for his reaction, the Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Water Corporation, Kehinde Fashola, confirmed some workers were laid off because they breached the contract of agreement.

READ ALSO: Local Festivals To Attend In Nigeria During December Holidays

“The government found out that the Lagos Water management contract staff members have not been in accordance with the contract appointment law. Some of them have been contract staff for 10 years and some for five years, which is not in accordance with the country’s labour law.

“The normal time is two years. So, the government is trying to correct any abnormality without any bias,” she said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

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One Killed, Others Injured In Operatives, Anambra Youths’ Clash

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There was pandemonium along the Onitsha-Owerri Road by Obodoukwu Junction, Onitsha, Anambra State, on Thursday, when a stray bullet from some gun-wielding men wearing black jackets suspected to be operatives of the Anambra State Anti-touts Agency killed a young man.

It was gathered that the victim identified as Chimezie from Achina, Aguata Local Government Area of the state, was standing at the balcony of his residence by Shoe Site, near Okpoko Police Station, in Ogbaru Local Government Area, when the stray bullet hit him.

He was said to have just completed his National Youth Service Corps.

The irate youths, who marched from the Metallurgical Training Institute, located along the Onitsha-Owerri Road to the Amanato area of the road towards Upper Iweka flyover, made bonfires on both lanes of the road, a situation that hampered free flow of movement.

READ ALSO: Why I Invited Pasuma, Portable For Church Performance – Cleric Breaks Silence

Sources told The PUNCH that the anti-tout operatives who invaded the area in a bid to stop the protesting youths opened fire and started shooting sporadically in an effort to scare the protesters.

The source said, “The youths were protesting incessant arrests, intimidation and harassment of youths in the area by the anti-tout squad, agents of the state government, wearing different kinds uniforms and acting as revenue agents at the same time.

“They always extort tricycle operators while claiming to be working for the state government. They collect between N300 and N500 per trip in the name of collecting revenue for the state government.

“It was during the protest that the operatives emerged from nowhere and started shooting sporadically in the air apparently to scare the protesters away, but in the process, the residents and traders whose movements for their commercial and business activities was at its peak, started running for their safety, with some sustaining injuries in the process. In the process, a bullet hit a young man standing at his balcony.”

READ ALSO: Abductors Of Imo Catholic Priest, Driver Reduce Ransom From N50m To N10m

Another source, a trader, who identified himself as Ozoemenam, said, “It was in the process of the sporadic shooting in the air that the deceased victim, who was discussing in the balcony of their flat, sustained gunshot injuries apparently from a stray bullet and died instantly.”

It was gathered that officers from Okpoko Police Station were invited to evacuate the corpse of the deceased and deposited the remains at the mortuary.

A senior police officer from the station, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the death of the victim and the evacuation of his corpse at the morgue.

The officer said that the youths were protesting their incessant arrest, detention and intimidation around Owerri Road, Obodoukwu Road and Ezeiweka areas and its environs.

READ ALSO: Chief Of Air Staff Tasks Officers On Respect, Protection Of Host Communities

“The youths in the area were protesting the midnight arrest, between 2: 30 and 3:30 am by the anti-tout operatives, and this morning they came back and opened fire on them and in the process the victim was killed.

“You know that these anti-tout squad members were not trained in handling arms, so they must have shot unprofessionally before the bullet hit that young man.”

Efforts to speak with the state Police Public Relations Officer, Ikenga Tochukwu, proved abortive as he did not respond to the messages and calls to his telephone line as of the time of filing this report.

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JUST IN: Late Alaafin’s Son, Abdulfatai Is Dead

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The son of the late Alaafin of Oyo, Prince Abdulfatai Adeyemi, fondly called D-Gov, is dead.

He died in the early hours of Friday, a day before his 47th birthday.

He reportedly died of diabetes at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Oyo prince, who was said to have been ill for a while, aspired for the Oyo Federal Constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2019 but lost the election to his brother, Akeem Adeyemi, fondly called Skimeh, who was re-elected for the second term.

He was appointed by the state governor, Seyi Makinde, as Chairman of the Oyo State Local Government Pension Board in his first term.

A palace source, who preferred anonymity, told The PUNCH that he died on Friday after a protracted illness.

READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Alaafin: Kingmakers Absent As Court Strikes Out Suit Against Makinde

He said, “Yes, he died this morning. Many people have also called me to confirm his demise. I was also weak when I received the news. Today is his brother, Akeem Adeyemi’s (a House of Representatives member), birthday, a day away from each other.

“I was with him on the day of the empowerment programme of his brother, Akeem, popularly called Skimeh, when he gave N50,000 each to 500 people. We sat down together. He was even the one who delivered the sermon on that day, not knowing that he was saying goodbye to everybody. It’s so painful and sad,” he lamented.

Details later…

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