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BEDC Meets 25% Metering Target in Phase I

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has so far met over 25 per cent of its 90,870 metres target under the first phase of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), which is to be concluded in the next three months.

This was disclosed by BEDC corporate affairs manager, Mr Tayo Adekunle, at the end of a town hall meeting on Facilitating Metering and Combating Electricity Theft in BEDC States organised by Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN) in Benin City, Edo State.

At the event, Mr Adekunle said the firm was implementing NNMP in its four franchise states – Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Ondo – to eliminate estimated billing.

“BEDC is now installing meters on the pole for customers in bands A, B and C as the initial focus to curtail energy theft and meter bypass while the company has also begun community metering where transformers of over 600 communities have been metered so far,” Mr Adekunle said.

Mr Adekunle, who expressed satisfaction with the growing joint efforts by communities in combating electricity theft in the BEDC coverage areas, noted that metering under NNMP is free, adding that customers do not have to pay while BEDC and industry stakeholders can sue and be sued on account of electricity theft and consumer rights violation.

“The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) is carrying out electricity consumer education and interfacing between customers and DisCos for complaints resolution”, he said.

The NMMP is a metering initiative introduced by the federal government geared towards mass metering of Nigerians by providing loan facility to the DisCos (for the procurement of meters for its customers); and the local meter manufacturers (for the manufacturing and assembling of meters).

BEDC is responsible for the retail distribution of electricity in Delta, Edo, Ekiti, and Ondo States with geographical coverage of 55,770 square kilometres. The company operates from 25 business districts with approximately 350 offices located across the four states with about 13 million people and about 4 million households.

The DisCo is the 4th largest in distribution capacity and 3rd largest in the number of households among the Distribution Companies (Discos) in Nigeria.

BEDC is strategically located and uniquely positioned to maximize the opportunities that may arise as Nigeria’s power trading market becomes more competitive and liberalized, as there are a number of major power generations and transmission hubs located within the area.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Aminu Adamu Lands in Prison for Insulting Aisha Buhari

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A student of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Mr Aminu Adamu, has been remanded in prison for allegedly ‘insulting’ the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs Aisha Buhari.

A few days ago, news filtered in that Mr Adamu was kidnapped by some security officials to Aso Rock, Abuja, over his post on Twitter that the President’s wife was feeding fat on the taxes paid by the poor masses.

This did not go down well with the First Lady, and the student, who is reportedly due to write his final year exams next week, was taken away from his campus and allegedly tortured.

This action angered many Nigerians, who asked Mrs Buhari to release the man or charge him in court.

On Tuesday, the student was charged to court by the police, and he was remanded in the Suleja correctional facility in Niger State, pending when his bail application would be heard next Wednesday.

According to his lawyer, Mr C.K. Agu, the student was arraigned before a court sitting in Abuja, but he pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him.

“Even in the court session yesterday, we notified the judge about the efforts made to have him released on bail, but we did not receive any reply from the police.

“We applied to the court to release the student on bail on health grounds and the fact that he will sit for the exam on December 5.

“The court has ordered the police to provide the bail application before it for consideration between Tuesday and Wednesday,” Mr Agu informed BBC Hausa Service.

On June 9, 2022, Mr Adamu posted a picture of Mrs Aisha Buhari at the presidential primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja held two days earlier and wrote in the Hausa language, “Su mama anchi kudin talkawa ankoshi,” which loosely means “Mama is feeding fat on poor people’s money.”

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House of Reps Probes Incessant Attacks on INEC Offices

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The House of Representatives has condemned the incessant attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

At the plenary on Wednesday, the green chamber of the National Assembly said the actions of the arsonists could put the nation’s democracy under threat.

On November 10, 2022, an INEC building in the Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State was burned, with over 65,000 uncollected PVCs destroyed by the arsonists. A similar incident happened in Osun State and a few days ago, the office of the electoral body was attacked in Ebonyi State.

It was gathered that since 2019, about 42 attacks have been carried out on INEC offices in 14 states and to the House of Reps, this is worrisome.

In order to curb this, the parliament has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the incessant razing of the offices of INEC within three weeks and produce a report of its findings.

At the plenary presided over by the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, the House urged the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and other security agencies to liaise with the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minster of Justice in bringing the perpetrators to book.

The decision to probe the matter followed a motion on notice moved by a lawmaker, Mr Olarewaju Ibrahim Kunle.

According to him, the attackers destroyed the main building of INEC in Ogun State earlier this month and other facilities such as 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 30 megaphones, 57 election bags, eight electric power generators and 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).

The lawmaker said on the same day, arsonists and thugs set ablaze the INEC building at Oke Iresi, Ede South Local Government of Osun State.

He warned that if these systematically orchestrated attacks on personnel and facilities of the agency are not checked, the 2023 general elections could be disrupted.

Mr Kunle appealed to his colleagues to take urgent action to protect democracy in Nigeria.

His appeal was welcomed, with the parliament calling on “politicians and stakeholders to admonish their supporters to refrain from attacks and violence before or during the 2023 elections.”

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Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Unveils Platform for Youth to Explore Business Prowess

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

An initiative to give an opportunity to youth in the country to explore their creativity and business prowess has been introduced by Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited.

The platform known as FUZE talent hunt will employ a holistic approach to youth empowerment and feature four categories across music, dance, fashion and technology, a statement from the leading pension fund administrator (based on assets under management) said.

According to the subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, the first-of-its-kind talent hunt aims to promote indigenous talents.

The chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Mr Olumide Oyetan, explained that the project was to the benefit of Nigerian society, adding that as a future-ready organisation, Stanbic IBTC valued talent, creativity and innovation and created the platform to shine the spotlight on youngsters and provide the necessary support they require to succeed, regardless of their chosen sphere of influence or industry.

He stated that youth empowerment had become increasingly essential with the heightened unemployment rate declared by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) at over 33 per cent.

On her part, an Executive Director at Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Ms Nike Bajomo, disclosed that the “primary goal of the FUZE Talent hunt is to create a platform for Nigeria’s talented youth to engage and learn from other youths while also gaining access to funds and best-in-class mentoring to support the actualisation of their dreams.”

She urged young Nigerians to participate in the event, stating that the audition application is free, and the public would be relied upon to vote for their preferred candidate, who would be showcased at the grand finale in December 2022.

“FUZE is open to all Nigerians between the ages 18 and 35 years. To participate, you can download the Stanbic IBTC Events App on either the android or iOS store, register and upload an audition video,” she said.

It was disclosed that the winners of the FUZE Talent Hunt would be unveiled at the FUZE Festival slated for December 21, 2022, and in addition to the chance to win N32 million, contestants will gain recognition in the industry and winners will receive mentorship to support their careers.

“Around the world today, young Nigerians are making a statement on the global scene, putting their names and communities on the roadmap to greatness.

“The average young Nigerian is bursting with talent and potential waiting to be harnessed, and we are here to give them the support they need to soar high. After all, Nigeria is our home, and we drive her growth,” the chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mr Demola Sogunle, said.

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