A traditional ruler and Head of Ikot Anwatim community in Cross River State, Ntufam Patrick Offiong, has been accused of illegally collecting electricity tariff from his community to the tune of N3 million.
A petition signed by leader of the aggrieved residents, Mr. Dede Uwa and sent to the management of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, called for immediate and thorough investigation into the activities of the traditional ruler and his cronies regarding the collection of electricity levies.
The petitioner alleged that they were shocked when their community leader connived with his cronies under the guise of collecting electricity levy so as to fix electricity in the community.
Part of the petitioners’ grievances includes subjection of the people to payment of N10, 000 from about three hundred compounds in Ikot Anwatim community despite the harsh economy.
The petitioners maintained that part of their grievances were that the money that was initially meant for the purchase of transformers for the community was diverted into the private pocket of “a cabal” led by the traditional ruler.
…allow police investigation, says PDP
The petitioner allegedly accused management of PHEDC of conniving with the traditional ruler to extort money from the people, accusing the monarch of mobilising boys to disconnect electricity from compounds that failed to pay the money on time.
Uwa said he was now facing serious threat for daring to speak the truth, and appealed to the police commissioner to protect his life. He also charged PHEDC to reconnect his light and that of other members of his community whose houses were disconnected on the orders of the traditional ruler.
Reacting to the allegations, Offiong accompanied by the village Youth Leader Bassey Itah, denied all the lonallegations against them, stressing that the aggrieved residents led by Uwa were unserious human beings who had never wished the community well.
In his reaction, the Head of PHED in Cross River, Mr. George Chinwo, debunked every allegation levelled against management of PHED and urged the feuding factions in the area to stop blackmailing the company.
“We do not generate electricity, we buy gas and for us to recoup our money, bills must be paid because bills payment is sacrosanct. PHED had no connection with whatever that is happening with collection of money in Ikot Anwatim Community.”