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UNIBEN Students Stage Protest Against Power Outage

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On Wednesday, students from the University of Benin took to the streets, blocking the usually bustling Benin-Ore Highway in protest against several weeks of power outages on their campus. Despite heavy rain, the protest commenced early in the morning, with students holding placards and chanting slogans as they obstructed the highway. This action caused significant disruption, stranding numerous passengers who were unable to continue their journeys.

The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), responsible for electricity in Edo State, has been at the center of the controversy. The University of Benin’s management recently voiced dissatisfaction over a reported more than 200% increase in their monthly electricity charges by BEDC. Previously, the monthly bills hovered around N80 million but have since escalated to a range of N200 million to N280 million. This financial burden has forced the university to rely on power generators and implement power rationing across its two campuses and hostels.

The students, with just two weeks remaining until their first semester examinations, expressed their frustration over the power outage’s impact on their study routines. John Afolabi, one of the protesting students, stated on Wednesday, “We have had only an hour of electricity daily since this issue began. We are exhausted from studying in the dark. We need electricity to prepare for our exams. The university administration must take action and resolve this matter.”

Echoing these sentiments, Sarah Osaigbovo, a 300-level student from the Ugbowo campus, added, “We won’t leave until something is done. We can’t afford to fail our exams.”

When approached for comments, Dr. Benedicta Ehanire, the Public Relations Officer of the university, indicated that a Senate meeting was underway to address and find a solution to the crisis.

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