Imo youths protest power outage, destroy property

Rochas Okorocha

The Egbu/Mbaise Road in Owerri, the Imo State capital, was on Tuesday blocked by some youths protesting against the alleged failure of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company to supply electricity to the community for several months.

The protest, which started at 7am, also affected economic activities as motorists coming from Umuahia, Abia State, to Mbaise and those going to other areas, were held in a traffic jam for hours.

The Egbu youths were said to have destroyed a fence, a security post, a gate and some cars belonging to the National Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The Publicity Secretary of the Egbu Town General Assembly, Eugene Orisakwe, lamented that the community had not been having power supply for several months, adding that efforts made to discuss with the management of EEDC had proved abortive.

He stated that promises by officials of the distribution company to supply power to the community had not been fulfilled.

He noted that in spite of three additional high tension wires around the community, they had yet to have power supply.

Orisakwe said, “We are here to find out the reason for this inhuman treatment.  It is not just that they don’t want to give us power, they completely disconnected our community.”

Also, the Chairman of Umuofor village, Mr. Aham Iheme, stated that a power plant belonging to the Transmission Company of Nigeria, which was in the community, had been causing hazards to residents.

“The radiation from the power plant has caused health hazards to our people. Many of our young men have died as a result of the radiation,” Iheme said.

An official of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being attacked, decried the attitude of the community.

He said, “It is not our fault that Egbu does not have power supply.  When the National   Electricity Regulatory Commission visited us because of the problem in August 2016, it was discovered that  the community  overtime had not been paying for electricity.

“All appeal to them to pay fell on deaf ears,  even after the traditional ruler of the community intervened.”

He said when a decision was reached between Egbu and NERC for the community to identify indigenes and non indigenes for modalities of payment of EEDC bills, the community failed to implement it.

“It is the duty of the community to implement it and not EEDC.  They are trying to push us to the wall because they are hosting us. If they tamper with the power plant, the whole of Owerri and beyond will be in total darkness,” he added.

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