14 March 2013, Port Harcourt – The University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, says the three months’ shortage of electricity supply in the university campus has paralysed academic and administrative activities of the university.
A statement signed by the university spokesman, Dr Williams Wodi, and issued in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, claimed that the university had been without electricity supply since January 2013.
The statement quoted Wodi as saying that despite the power situation; the university has paid huge electricity bills to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
It read: “PHCN has consistently thrown the university into darkness, which have grounded academic and administrative activities to a halt and as such, pose serious security challenge to the university.
“This is quite surprising because the university is up-to-date in the payment of huge electricity bills to the power company for services which has not yet been rendered.
“As a result, staff and students no longer function either in the office or conduct any meaningful academic work in the laboratories and classrooms.
“The university has made several attempts to get PHCN to instal pre-paid metres in residential and administrative areas of the university of which our efforts have been in futility.”
Wodi said that the university now relied on its power generating sets to supply electricity to the university campus and as such, depleted funds meant for other services.
He claimed that the situation had become deplorable to the extent that it had affected the university’s capacity to carry-out its core mandate of teaching, research and community service.
According to him, PHCN should return the university back to the old
Airport power-line from where it initially sourced its electricity supply as against the current Ahoada power grid.
Wodi called on PHCN to take urgent steps to address electricity challenge in the university so as to enable it resume normal academic activities.
Reacting to this, Mr Obidili Onuwah, the PHCN spokesman in Rivers, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, that the claim by the university was untrue.
He, however, said that some PHCN facilities were damaged a fortnight ago by a reckless driver which interrupted steady electricity supply to some communities in the area.
“About a week or two ago, a Coca-Cola trailer ran into a 33KVA line somewhere at Emohua area (Rivers); pulling it down and destroyed about 13 concrete (electricity) poles.
“PHCN wrote a letter to the university; intimating the university about what happened and apologized that this is the situation.
“Since the Police was involved; a lot of things had to be sorted out and our men are sourcing for materials to get the poles replaced and reconnect the line.
“There are so many projects coming up around the university area and the aim is to ensure stability of (electricity) supply at that axis. “Once these projects are completed and commissioned; the university will be better for it.
“For the university to claim that since January 2013 that it has not had electricity supply is untrue,” he said.