The Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, has lamented the huge debt owed it by the Zone 5 and Edo State Command of the Nigerian Police, which runs to the tune of over N151 million.
The company’s image maker, Mr. Curtis Nwadei, who disclosed this during an interactive session with journalists in his office at the weekend, lamented that with the huge debts owed it by the police, the electricity company now finds it difficult to continue to function properly and make electricity available for its consumers.
“The Command alone is owing us N48, 392, 675 million. At Zone 5, it is the same old story. Zone 5 alone and the barracks is owing us N103, 000, 000. You can imagine what it’s like working for a place where we don’t get anything in return. How do you want us to pay salaries, maintain vehicles when we are so heavily indebted to? We buy this energy and we pay the supplier of energy,” he lamented.
He blamed the power outage on fault on the transformer that supplies power to the Command and vandalization of yet another one servicing the area.
“The much I can say about that is that the Edo State Police Command is not disconnected. What happened was that the transformer feeding them is bad, and because of the debt, we can’t raise money to repair or replace the transformer. So I wonder how we are expected to raise money and invest in such a place where we are not getting anything in return.
“We visited the Commissioner of Police on this issue about three days ago, that was on Tuesday, and we told him our predicament that we don’t have the money to repair the transformer. So it is very wrong for anyone to say that anybody disconnected the Command. You can go and look at the transformer yourself to verify whether we really disconnected them,” he stated.
While further affirming that they have not disconnected the command from sources of power, the BEDC spokesman however warned that plans were on underway to disconnect the barracks adding; “we can disconnect the barracks because the police high command had made it clear that those living in the barracks should pay their bills.”
Reacting to the situation, the Public Relations Officer of the Edo State Police Command, DSP Stephen Onwuche, appealed to the BEDC to repair the transformer since the two companies work as a team.
“They said the transformer serving this headquarters and Area Command is bad and we have made efforts to reach out to BEDC and we are still talking. We have always been there for them each time they need us and now, we too, we are in need of light. They should please partner with us along this line and do for us what we equally do for them,” Onwuche said.