…Ogbum na Abali not our host community – PHEDC
Mkpoikana Udoma 22 February 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Irate youths from Ogbum na Abali community in Port Harcourt City, Rivers State, have protested against non-availability of electricity in the area, despite being host community to the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC.
The protesters, numbering over 100, who besieged the entrance of the PHEDC station at Nzimiro Street, Old GRA, with palm-fronds, complained of poor power supply and exorbitant bills by the electricity firm.
President of Ogbum na Abali youths and leader of the protest, Mr. Mariuku Wogu, claimed the community had suffered poor power supply over the years despite the free land the community donated to the company.
Wogu alleged that in one month, bills of up to N25,000 and N45,000 were given to a household, and also accused the distribution company of extortion.
“Where they are operating from is our land. We gave it to them free of charge and they are not paying homage to us and we have not asked them for any homage. They have been treating us badly. They do not give us light, but they always give us estimated bills”, he lamented.
Chairman of Ogum na Abali Power Committee, Mr. Bright Ogbondah, said the residents have suffered untold hardship due to the poor electricity supply in the area.
“If you remove Afam and Alaoji, this is the next station that is feeding Port Harcourt as a whole”, he said, adding that PHEDC does not consider the interest of the community.
Meanwhile, the management of PHEDC has said that the blackout experienced in Port Harcourt is as a result of the actions of Ogbum na Abali community residents, who, according to the company, “went to the Port Harcourt Town transmission station located at Nzimiro Junction and forcefully ejected the technical men who were on duty”.
A statement by the company’s spokesperson, Mr. John Onyi, stated that the gate to the transmission station was barricaded, locked and occupied by the rampaging community, threatening any official that dared to come close”.
The statement also denied that Ogbum na Abali is a host community to the PHEDC, and maintained that the community is getting its fair share of power supply that is allocated to PHEDC from the national grid.