Hike in Electricity Tariff: UNIBEN shuts down academic activities as protesting students barricade Benin-Ore Highway

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Hike in Electricity Tariff: UNIBEN shuts down academic activities as protesting students barricade Benin-Ore Highway

The University of Benin (UNIBEN) has shut down academic activities indefinitely, following a protest by students of the institution over poor power supply.

A statement by the school’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Benedicta Ehanire, on Thursday confirms this.

Part of the statement reads thus.

“Following the insistence of students of the University of Benin (not) to shift grounds on their demands for twenty-four hours supply of electricity and more, considered unrealistic by the University’s Senate, the University has shut down academic activities indefinitely.
“Students are to vacate the hostels immediately while all the relevant units of the university are to take note and comply. However, non-teaching staff and staff on essential duties are not affected by the shut down,” the statement added.

Students of the University of Benin on Wednesday took to the streets, blocking the ever-busy Benin-Ore Highway to protest weeks of power outages on the campus.

The students, who have only two weeks until their first semester examinations, said the situation was severely affecting their preparation.

The protest caused a disruption to the free flow of vehicular movement, with many passengers stranded and unable to reach their destinations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the university was thrown into a blackout following the inability to reach an agreement with the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) over a contentious electricity bill.

The management of the institution was said to have expressed discontent after the Benin Disco reportedly made an upward review of the institution’s monthly electricity charges by over 200 per cent.

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The monthly bill was said to have jumped from about N80 million to between N200 million and N280 million, forcing the university to resort to power generators as well as rationalisation of power on the two campuses and hostels.

“We only had one hour of electricity every day since this issue started. We are tired of studying in the dark.

“We need electricity to read and prepare for our exams. The university management needs to take responsibility and fix this issue,” said John Afolabi, one of the protesting students.

The protest, which began early in the morning, Wednesday saw students carrying placards and chanting slogans as they blocked the highway.

“We will not leave until something is done. We can’t afford to fail our exams because of the university’s negligence, said Sarah Osaigbovo, a 300-level student residing at the Ugbowo campus.”

A visibly angry commuter, who refused to disclose his name, said, “I’m supposed to be at work right now, but I’ve been stuck here for hours.

“I understand the students’ plight, but they need to find a better way to protest.”

Despite the rainfall, the students were determined to continue the protest.

NAN reports that, the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Benedicta Ehanire, when contacted said a meeting of the Senate was ongoing on how to resolve the issue.