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UNIBEN Students Block Benin-Ore expressway

Massive protest in UNIBEN, students hold management in jugular - P.M. News

STUDENTS of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) in the Edo State capital, on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, took to the streets and blocked the ever-busy Benin-Ore Highway to protest weeks of power outage on campus.

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

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The protest, which commenced on Wednesday morning, saw students carrying placards and chanting slogans as they blocked the highway.

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

The monthly bill was said to have jumped from about N80 million to between N200 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 have 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,” one of the protesting students, John Afolabi, said.

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

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

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 UNIBEN students were hell-bent on continuing the protest.

Speaking on the protest, the UNIBEN spokesperson, Dr Benedicta Ehanire, said a meeting of the university Senate was ongoing on how to resolve the issue.

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