01 April 2014, Lagos – Hundreds of Egbin residents in Ikorodu area of Lagos State, recently shutdown the popular Egbin power plant, protesting what they described as marginalisation on the part of the company.
Lamenting irregular power supply in the area, the residents demanded for return of their recently acquired and fenced 7.345 hectares (18.148 Acres) of land which has remained unused by the thermal station.
Also, the residents accused the management of the power plant for failure to exhibit corporate social responsibility in the community since 1981.
As early as 7am, the residents converged in front of the power station with various placards, singing solidarity songs, thereby preventing the workers from gaining access to their offices.
The aggrieved residents told Vanguard Metro that their plight was worsened by their rivers being polluted by the chemicals from the power plant, thereby robbing them of their means of livelihood as fishermen. According to them, various steps were taken in the past to register their plight both at state and federal levels which yielded no postive result. A resident Razaq Oduniyi, said the develpment also caused water scarcity in the community, forcing residents to trek long distances in search of potable water.
Reacting to the development, the management of Egbin Power Plc, led by its Chief Executive Officer, Mike Uzoikwe, an engineer, said the distribution company was initially serving few communities until lately when it was asked to serve additional 50 communities without provision to that effect. He however promised to channel residents’ plight and grievances to appropriate authorities.
In a chat with VM, one of the leaders of the protest, Shina Ishola, said the acquired land lies on the right hand side of the road that leads into the Thermal Station. He added that about 553 hectares have neither been unused nor returned to the community.
‘’We want the land to be returned for development and expansion, bearing in mind the fact that Egbin town only occupies 22 hectares. Of the 623.183 hectares of land acquired by the Federal Government in 1981, only about 40 hectares are currently in use for Egbin Thermal Station and the transmission site.
We hope to use the returned land for such development purposes like construction of public primary and secondary schools (approval already given by Lagos State SUBEB Health Centre), youth skill acquisition centre, a befitting market, palace, town hall and cemetery,’’ he said
The thermal stations, he added, also distribute power to other communities at the expense of the host community. ‘’Egbin power plant is connected to other towns like Agura, Gberigbe, Oke Eletu, Abule Eko and Ijede to the newly installed sub-station at Oke Eletu for uninterrupted power supply. A situation where the community has been experiencing power failure for a prolonged period of time is no longer tolerable,’’ he stated.
According to Sina, the company had failed to offer employment to indigenes of the town. ‘’Presently, the number of indigenes in the employment of the plant is less than one per cent which grossly falls short of the provisions of the Indigenisation laws,” he complained.