Tony Osauzo, Benin
A coalition of civil groups, yesterday, took to streets of Benin, to protest against a bill for a law to provide for electricity theft and other related offences, currently under consideration at the Edo State House of Assembly.
The bill christened ‘Electricity Theft Offence’, prescribes a special court for electricity consumers in the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) who bypass and engage in illegal connection.
The protesters, who wore black attires and carried placards with different inscriptions, pelted the Assembly complex with tomatoes and oranges before heading to Government House.
Both the Assembly Speaker, Kabiru Adjoto and Governor Godwin Obaseki failed to address the protesters, who vowed to resist the bill which their leader, Agho Omobude insisted was anti-people and advised Obaseki not to sign into law.
“The issue of estimated billings, poor services and provision of metres must be addressed before any other issue.
“Edo people should not be seen to be doing the bidding of BEDC.
“This law is anti-people and must be rejected. BEDC is out to exploit Edo people and must be resisted,” Omobude said.
Meanwhile, as part of renewed initiatives to ensure tax compliance, the state government has engaged the services of private legal practitioners to fast-track recovery of all outstanding tax liabilities from defaulters.
In a statement, Executive Chairman/CEO, Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS), Igbinidu Inneh, said: “This is to inform the public that in a bid to recover all outstanding tax liabilities from defaulters, EIRS has engaged and collaborated with private legal practitioners in Edo State.”
He said the private legal practitioners will work in alliance with the law officers of the EIRS to embark on vigorous prosecution of tax defaulters, adding, “the public is by this statement put on notice to pay up all outstanding tax liabilities owed Edo State government, in order to avoid the consequences of prosecution.”