The Director of Industries and Services, Benin Distribution Company, Yunana Jackdell Malo has warned that residents of Ekiti, Ondo, Delta and Edo States may be plunged into total darkness over the contentious ownership of the distribution company.
Malo, who gave the warning in a statement issued on behalf of the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, Alex Okoh revealed that non-state actors allegedly engaged by top officials of the Benin Distribution Company, BEDC, are engaging in ownership tussle over the electricity company.
Recall that the Federal Government had announced a planned takeover of Benin, Kano, Kaduna, Ibadan and Port Harcourt electricity distribution companies (DisCos) over their huge debt and non-performance.
The planned takeover was also attributed to the activation of collateralised shares of the DisCos by Fidelity Bank and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
While the restructuring action in the other four DisCos was successful, the restructuring of the Benin DisCos faced disruptions as Vigeo Power Limited secured a court injunction against the takeover.
In July, BEDC management warned that “any attempt by Fidelity Bank and/or BPE to intervene in BEDC in the manner being reported will be illegal, unlawful and will be resisted.”
Speaking on the transition, BPE said it would alongside NERC continue to monitor the DisCo and work with the Ministry of power and relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure no disruptions to service.
“The BPE is monitoring the events at BEDC and is aware that the Interim Board recognised by the NERC and the Bureau has retaken operational control of the Headquarters in Benin with the support of authorities,” the statement reads.
“The Interim Board already had financial control of the entity, and the usage of non-state actors by the former Board and Managing Director to forcefully disrupt the affairs of the entity was unfortunate. The actions, if left unchecked, risk plunging the citizens of Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Ondo (under the BEDC franchise) into total darkness.”
The BPE said that “Vigeo Holding, having defaulted on its loan and having collateralised its controlling shares, had lost ownership in the entity.”
Meanwhile, Vigeo Holding would not let go.