UNIBEN Students Block Benin-Ore Highway Over Prolonged Power Outage

Students from the University of Benin (UNIBEN) took to the streets on Wednesday, shutting down the busy Benin-Ore Highway to protest against weeks of power outage on their campus. With only two weeks remaining before their first semester examinations, the students expressed their frustration over the lack of electricity, which they said was severely impacting their study preparations.

The protest began early in the morning, with students carrying placards and chanting slogans, demanding immediate action to resolve the power crisis. The highway blockade caused significant disruptions, leaving many passengers stranded and unable to reach their destinations.

Background of the Power Outage

The power outage at UNIBEN resulted from a dispute between the university and the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) over an electricity bill. According to reports, the university experienced a blackout after failing to reach an agreement with BEDC, which had significantly increased the institution’s monthly electricity charges by over 200%. The monthly bill reportedly rose from approximately N80 million to between N200 million and N280 million.

In response to the increased charges, the university resorted to using power generators and implementing power rationing across its two campuses and hostels. Students reported receiving only one hour of electricity each day since the issue began.

Students’ Demands

John Afolabi, one of the protesting students, voiced the collective frustration: “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.”

Sarah Osaigbovo, a 300-level student, emphasized the students’ determination: “We will not leave until something is done. We can’t afford to fail our exams because of the university’s negligence.”

Impact of the Protest

The protest has highlighted the critical issue of power supply at educational institutions and the impact of such disruptions on students’ academic performance. The blockade of the Benin-Ore Highway underscores the urgency of resolving the power dispute to ensure students can adequately prepare for their upcoming exams without further hindrance

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