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A Communiqué Issued By Network Of Civil Society Organizations Of Nigeria (NOCSON) At The End Of An Extraordinary Stakeholders Meeting Held On Wednesday 6th April, 2016 At The Human Rights House; #137, Ikpoba Slope, Benin City, Edo State

By Marxist Kola
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After much deliberations on the state of the Nation and Edo State on fundamental issues which bordered on the lingering fuel scarcity across the country, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) Exploitative and Intimidating tendencies and the unlawful arrest, torture and extortion of Innocent Nigerians by the Police. We resolved as follows:

1. FUEL SCARCITY
That the current fuel scarcity has caused the masses psychology, economic and financial trauma as Nigerians are now buying fuel at the rate of N250 to N300 and this has affected greatly the cost of living, food prices, transportation, goods and service etc. And the promise by the Minister of Petroleum (state) to end the fuel scarcity from Thursday 7th April, 2016 MUST be brought to fruition or we shall be compelled to engage in passive resistance and civil disobedience.

2. BENIN ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY (BEDC) EXPLOITATIVE AND INTIMIDATING TENDENCIES.

That the BEDC Management has turned consumers to slaves with their adopted colonial policies and methodology in carrying out their day to day business. Therefore, as true progressives, the voice of the voiceless and defender of the defenseless, we are compelled to rise to the occasion and save Nigerians residing in Edo State and beyond from the iron grip of BEDC and NERC. This is because in a country where power generation, transmission and distributions has become an impossible mission and darkness has enveloped major part of the Country and BEDC are still distributing fraudulent estimated bills and using uniform officers and men of the Nigeria Army and Police to intimidate and brutalize citizens.

That we are fully aware that the management of BEDC has refused to obey court and National Assembly orders to reverse the current hike in electricity tariff and the distributions of prepaid metres to consumers across the country without a fee as required by the books.

That we condemned the hike in electricity tariff and the fraudulent estimated billings and fully demand for the total obedience of the subsisting orders of court as we shall in few day resume full sensitization of the people and thereafter collaborate with sister organization to launch a 24hours picketing of all BEDC offices.

That we condemned the illegal use of Military and Police Personnel and Men to harass, intimidate and brutalize innocent citizens. This is unconstitutional and unacceptable this 21st century.

That the Chief of Army Staff and Inspector General of Police should as a matter of urgent public importance withdraw the Military and Police officer and men attached to Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) since they serve no utilitarian value.

That the Department of State Security should investigate the unlawful, barbaric and exploitative activities of Benin Electricity Distribution Company to avoid break down of Law and order in Edo State and other State of the Country where similar fraudulent and oppressive activities is on going.

That Nigerians should fight for their fundamental rights, protect and defend themselves whenever and wherever such fraudulent and oppressive tendencies occur. They should ensure that they use their mobile phones to record the illegal, intimidating and exploitative activities of the Military and Police Personnel and Men as proof of evidence for legal actions.

3. POLICE UNLAWFUL ARREST, TORTURE AND EXTORTION.
That we commend the Inspector General and Edo State Commissioner of Police for the unrelenting effort to reposition the Police Force and curbing crime in Edo State in particular and Nigeria in general but condemn in very strong terms the unbearable and unacceptable way and manner the Officers and Men of the Police Force across the State are unlawfully arresting, torturing and extorting innocent Nigerians resident in Edo State under the guise of bail. We say this is man inhumanity to man in the guise of policing.

Further, that we resolved to write formally to the Commissioner of Police, Edo State to enable proper investigation and action to put a final stop to this ugly trend that will destroy the outstanding performance of the Commissioner of Police and the image of the Nigerian Police Force if not properly nipped in the bud.

A stitch in time saves nine.
An injury to one is an injury to all.
A threat to justice any where is a threat to justice every where.

One for all, all for one.
Solidarity forever!
Signed:
Barr. Oviawe Abraham,
President,
Network of Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (NOCSON).

08038974994.
Amb. Ibodeme A. A. Theophilus,
Secretary General,
Network of Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (NOCSON).

08032413033.