PHED Substation Shutdown -As Youths Protest Epileptic Power Supply

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Youths of Afaha Ube Itam in Itu Local Government Area, today, Sunday, placed traditional injunction at the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) Substation at Afaha Ube Itam, shuting down activities at the power station as workers took to their heels.
The furious youths who alleged inability of the power company to provide them with steady electricity, refusal to employ youths from the host community, payment of compensation for their land amongst others, made it clear that their silence can no longer be golden.
The former youth president of the area, Godwin Inyang, who spoke with our correspondent, said the injunction became necessary as all conventional approach have not yielded fruits, especially as they have been informed that the Federal Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Raji Fashola will be in Akwa Ibom State to commission the substation tomorrow.
Narrating the ordeal of the community in the hands of power distributors, he cited instances where the community had stayed for two years in total blackout. He however decried that the transformers that were finally sent to some parts of the community lacking light had long parked up, leaving the areas in darkness again, adding that they have written severally to PHED but nothing has been done to salvage the situation.
He also stated that aside from the issue of power supply, there has been gross negligence of the power company to employ youths from the host community, despite the fact that they have educated youths and experts in the engineering field.
He used the opportunity to state that if the injunction must be removed, there must be a memorandum of understanding that the PHED will restore light to Afaha Ube Itam and other villages making up the host community, see the need to employ their youths as well as pay them compensation for using their land to build the substation.
Also speaking, the incumbent youth president of Afaha Ube Itam, said the traditional injunction is not to cause break down of law and order in the state, but their diplomatic way to call on the authorities to see to their plights; and make the power company do the right thing.
Mentioning the various challenges they have faced, including health hazard, he stated that they have written severally to the authorities, yet nothing has been done.
Enuciating on their negligence, he said in 2001, that had written a letter demanding for Environmental Impact Assessment report, as there had a very strong conviction that the radiation from the substation is hazardous to human health.
He also mentioned that they had equally written a letter to them to give their youths employment as host community and those who are bearing the health hazards.
He as well noted that they had also demanded that they pay compensation for their land used to build the substation but all appeals fell on deaf ears. “It may interest you to know no member of the community is working there, not even as a security or cleaner, yet we are they ones suffering the health hazard”, he said.
He said recently they have had series of meetings with them for new transformers since they old ones have parked up leaving them in total blackout, but they are yet to deliver on their promises of new transformers.
He said what has pissed them off, is the General Manager (GM) of the power station, Engr Uyo Uko trying to play on their intelligence by bringing one transformer to provide light to only one side of the affected areas of the community, where as what they demanded for is for all the areas making up the community that has been in blackout to be given light.
Moreover, the youth president stated that now is the right time for them to get the attention of the federal government as Minister for Power, Babatunde Fashola is said to be landing in Akwa Ibom tomorrow Monday to commission the substation, noting that the injunction will not be removed until they sign a memorandum of understanding with the power company, where their demands must be met.
Meanwhile, our correspondent learnt that the Village Head of Afaha Ube Itam, Eteidung Gabriel Edet had wade into the matter, and he is negotiating with the GM to see that the problem is solved. As at the time of filing this report, all efforts to reached the GM, according to our correspondent had proved abortive, as no worker was found around the substation except police officers.

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