Joe Effiong, Uyo
Consistent poor supply of electricity in Uyo and its environs in Akwa Ibom State has led to the sacking of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED), the DISCO in charge of Akwa Ibom and Rivers State by the youths.
The youths, carrying coffins and other traditional injunctions, allegedly stormed the PHEDC transmission station in Itu and PHED office on Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo, where they place injunctions on the activities of the distribution company.
But, PHED authorities have threatened to plunge the entire state into interminable darkness because of the action of the youths which it claims is borne out of greed and selfishness of the their leaders.
PHED Corporate Communication Manager, John Onyi, in a statement, said Akwa Ibom State, including the state capital, has been thrown into unwarranted darkness by the Itam Youth Forum.
“The forced outage is sequel to the Youth Development Forum members’ action, who early this morning barricaded the transmission station, located at Itu close to the state capital, thereby forcing the station to shut down supply forcefully.
“In addition, the same group later moved to PHED office at 4, Lane with a coffin, a show of shame championed by its leader, dropped the said coffin at the entrance of the office, scared customers away, thereby leading to operations blockade of the company.
“The youths’ action has therefore, led to inability of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to wheel out power to Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company for onward distribution to its customers in Akwa Ibom State.
“Also, the economic activities of the entire state have been brought to a halt as a result of the sacking of TCN’s officials on duty by the irate youths.
“The action of the youths may have been surreptitious by its leader, Ubong Akpan, who has repeatedly demanded a contract worth N6,660,000.00 to carry out enumeration on behalf of PHED in his community, Itu, comprising 79 villages.
“Of course, the management did not succumb to his hate speech and blackmail, hence, he now organised and misled unsuspecting members of his group to achieve his self-aggrandisement, which he purportedly hinged on poor power supply to his community.
“He also submitted a proposal to PHED for sensitisation in his community, amounting to N731,200.00 which was declined for lack of merit since there is in-house department responsible for publicity,” Onyi said in the statement.
He called on the relevant government functionaries, especially the security agencies to step in and advise Akpan and his group to vacate TCN premises and remove their coffin from PHED’s office in Uyo with a view to wheeling out supply to PHED customers.
In his response, Akpan, who led the protesters, said the protest was against estimated bills and poor service which had become the characteristic of PHED in Akwa Ibom State.
“We want them to restore the light to what it used to be before now; we can’t imagine how we can have two power stations in Itu local government area, and have not been having light for months. PHEDC has not been treating us well, even when we pay our bills regularly,” he said.