By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Youth and traders from Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom of Akwa Ibom on Tuesday disrupted normal activities in Ibom Power Plant in the state, alleging over 15 years power outages
The protesters numbering over 500 barricaded the entrance and placed a traditional injunction and stopped movement to and from the company.
Mr. Archibong Williams, Chairman Youth President’s Forum of Ikot Abasi, said the protest was necessary because the people had been suffering for more than fifteen years without light despite being host to Ibom Power Plant.
He said their appeal to the Management of Ibom Power had fallen on deaf ears hence the Youths including market women and students decided to shut down the operation of the company until positive responses to their plights are made.
“We have a Power Plant that is called Ibom Power Plant and for years it has been generating light but we don’t see this light and we the host communities have nothing to show for it. We have been in darkness for 15 years.
“So the aggressive youths, women and students are here. Some times last year, we gave a-21 day ultimatum which was extended to one year and some days but our grievances were not met.
“The youths today decided that the Company is not going to operate again. So we have shut down the company and put traditional injunction to stop movement in and out of the company.
“As we speak there is no market in Ikot Abasi LGA, there is no shop open and there is no school going on” he said.
The President of Mboho Mkparawa Ikot Abasi, Frank Enoidem described their condition as pathetic adding that the management of the Company had been making things difficult as it has not come out with positive response since the agitation began.
“What we have done is a peaceful protest against poor electricity supply to our communities. This agitation has been there for long time but nothing positive has been done.
“Last year, the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom was here and after that we saw some transformers but no light. So, we are beginning to suspect that those transformers were for political reasons.
“The Ibom Power Plant management has been making things difficult for us, because they have not come up with a positive response for us to hold and know that something is being done” he said.
Responding, the Managing Director of Ibom Power Plant, Mr. Meyen Etukudo said Gov. Udom Emmanuel has already approved a substation for the community which was not even there in the original plan of the Power Plant.
Etukudo said the management and the host Representatives of the host communities had been meeting and something was being done about the situation.
“The overall Youth President was in my office on Friday 10th, January, 2020. He saw me here as I was going to see the Governor for the approval of the substation at Ikot Abasi.
“The Governor said I should present the Memo at the Finance and General Purpose Committee headed by him and that was my first time to present a Memo there, all because of the power issue at Ikot Abasi.
“But the next thing they could do was to shutdown the place. The Paramount ruler called me and I was there about 3 pm today,” he said.
He explained that when the Ibom Power Plant was constructed the Station Service Transformers to bring down the light to the host communities was not done.
“The people think it is just as easy as bringing down the light from the turbines. This needs a separate substation which the Governor has already approved. We are talking about engineering and conception here not to talk about the cost” Etukudo said.
Reacting, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr MacDon Odiko said that the police was not aware but they would investigate the matter.