A protest staged by some residents in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State was, on Wednesday, hijacked by hoodlums.

The protest was carried out to express the grievances of the residents over the ten-year power outage in the community and its environs.

The demonstration, which started on a peaceful note, was hijacked at Ikoya road in Okitipupa, as the protesters locked down the street.

Properties worth millions of Naira were damaged, as the action lasted several hours at the Okitipupa Local Government Area, where they also chased away the staff.

Eyewitnesses told SaharaReporters that the action led to a disruption of the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise at the local office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), close to the Okitipupa Local Government Area, as people were chased out of the office.

The building housing the Okitipupa Secretariat office was vandalised as the windows were broken by the rampaging hoodlums. 

The protest came barely two weeks after youths from the Southern Senatorial District of the State shut down the Benin-Ore-Lagos road, in a protest over total blackout.

Protesters shut down commercial and business activities in the town for many hours, as they chanted solidarity songs.

SaharaReporters gathered that Okitipupa town is one of the six Local Government Areas that has been in total darkness for ten years in the state. 

Armed with placards with various inscriptions such as ‘Fix Our Light’; ‘No Light, No Election’; ‘No Light, No Vote In 2019’, the protesters asked the government not to renew the licence of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).

They accused the State and Federal Government of not showing enough concern regarding their agitations and vowed not to allow the 2019 elections and other political activities hold in the area, until power is restored.

Ibrahim Olusola, one of the artisans, told reporters that the total blackout had crippled businesses in the area, as traders suffer losses.

He complained about the "heavy taxation"  levied on them by the government, stating that there was need to immediately restore electricity to the affected areas. 

He said the community had been in complete darkness for ten years, without much response from both the State and Federal Government.

"The whole community has been in darkness for ten years and there is no move by both the State and Federal Government to address the situation. It is very sad that the total blackout has crippled all business activities in the town and many now use generators to power their shops.

"We have said we can't continue like this, and this is why we came out to say 'No' to any political activity in this town. In fact, we have vowed that we will not allow them conduct 2019 elections in the town, and if they try us, we would disrupt the process.

"We have also resolved not to pay any tax or revenue to government in the state, until they find a solution to the blackout in the area.”

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