18th March, 2019
A group of youths in Ilesha, Osun on Monday staged a violent protest over disconnection of electricity in the town by Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC).
The protest which began on Sunday evening, took a new dimension on Monday as the aggrieved youths barricaded major roads, preventing vehicular movement.
Some journalists who went o cover the protest were also attacked with cutlasses and other dangerous weapons while their cameras were damaged beyond repair.
Mr Rafiu Muhammad of TV Continental and his cameraman, Taiwo Adu, as well as Channels TV reporter, Shittu Abdulfatai and his camera man, were attacked by the irate youths, while their cameras were also destroyed.
The journalists are presently receiving treatment at the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital (LAUTECH) in Osogbo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some youths from Olomilagba and Bolorunduro communities in Obokun Local Government Area of the state had on March 14, stormed the Ilesha business hub of IBEDC protesting what they described as “crazy bills’’.
During the protest, the IBEDC management alleged that the protesting youths attacked their staff and made away with unspecified amount of money.
As a result of the attack, IBEDC disconnected electricity supply to the communities which led to the violent protest.
During the resumed protest on Monday, the irate youths were said to have vandalised IBEDC office in Isare, Isokun and Oke-Omiru in Ilesha.
Office documents as well as other valuables of the company were said to have been set ablaze by the protesting youths.
When contacted on phone, DSP Folashade Odoro, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, said police men had been deployed to the town to safe guard lives and properties.
Odoro said that the police were on top of the situation and appealed to residents of the communities to go about their lawful duties without fear of intimidation.
When contacted, Miss Kikelomo Owoeye, the IBEDC Regional Communication Officer said management of the company was already meeting at its headquarters to decide the next line of action.
Owoeye said the disconnection of electricity to the communities was not aimed at punishing anybody but rather to safe guard the lives of IBEDC staff.
Also speaking with NAN, Mr Timothy Owoeye, a member of Osun House of Assembly representing Ilesha West, said the disconnection of electricity as well as “crazy billings’’ was responsible for the protest.
Owoeye said that the community was not in support of the violent protest by the youths, and appealed to them to remain calm for the sake of peace.
The lawmaker said he had been to IBEDC in Osogbo and Ibadan to discuss with them on how best to resolve the problem amicably.
According to him, IBEDC, the Police and leaders of the community are on top of the situation.