Life around Abak Road axis of Ibom Plaza in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, is horrific for residents, who are suffering 15 years of perpetual power outage, Investorseye Newspaper reports.
To make their case worse is a growing sense of insecurity, following increase in criminal activities around the area late at night and during the early hours of the morning.
Consequently, concerned residents and shop owners have decided to petition the state government through the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, appealing for urgent intervention.
The petition titled “SAVE OUR SOUL: POWER OUTAGE FOR 15 YEARS IN UYO CITY CENTRE, AN UNJUST VICITMIZATION BY POWER HOLDINGS COMPANY OF NIGERIA, PHCN (now PORT HARCOURT ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY, PHED)”, described the situation as matter of urgent public importance.
It informed the Speaker of their unending suffering due to permanent power outage by Power Holdings Company of Nigeria (PHCN), now Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED for more than fifteen (15) years.
“We have become victims of State Government development agenda as this regrettable situation has crippled our businesses and cost us uncountable personal lose.
“The ugly scenario is taking heavy toll on profitability of businesses in the area as we have to depend on generators to run our various businesses.
According to the petition, the origin of the power outage dates back to when the Akwa Ibom State Government and PHCN, decided to bury all power cables in the affected area during the construction of Ibom Plaza.
However, years later, when the buried power cables developed faults, the power company simply cut off the affected area from the national power grid and since then, all entreaties to PHCN to rectify the problem have fallen on deaf ears.
Officials at the Uyo Business District of PHCN (or PHED), claimed that it was not their responsibility to restore power to area.
“They claim that State Government is responsible because it is yet to hand over the contract and therefore their hands were tied.
The residents questioned state government’s plan to attain 100% connection of all communities within the state to the National Power Grid whereas such a sensitive and high security risk area, is left behind.
“We suspect deliberate victimization and economic sabotage by PHCN as we have been overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of our economic losses daily, for the past fifteen (15) years till date.
“We cannot continue depending on self help whereas we are paying tax to government and contributing our quota towards development as responsible citizens of this state”.
They drew attention of the Speaker to heightened criminal activities in the affected area especially at night, saying it poses grave danger to life and property of citizens in the very heart of Uyo Capital City.
“Already, there have been countless cases of burglary and mugging in the area’, the petition claimed.
They therefore appealed to the Speaker to inquire from the General Manager, Uyo Business District of Power Holdings Company of Nigeria, PHCN or Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED for explanation of the continuous power outage within this sensitive area of Akwa Ibom State capital for fifteen (15) years.
They also called on Akwa Ibom State government to urgently intervene in the matter and work with PHCN (or PHED) to rectify the fault in the power transmission line feeding Abak road, Ibom Plaza area and its adjoining streets and ameliorate their sufferings.
Across section of respondents, disclosed that they have tried on several occasions to tap ‘light’ from adjoining Nsentip Street, but PHCN officials would immediately disconnect them.
“We have suffered so much in this area. All our monies both capital and profit are sunk into buying of petrol.
“PHCN people have completely abandoned us. Yet, when we tapped from Nsentip Street they come back to disconnect”, Mr. Ubong Ekpo lameneted.
Mr. Ekong who has been running his business for as long as are possible noted that the community was in fire need of government and PHCN intervention as it has been grouping in darkness for years without mention. He said they had time without number sent compares to PHCN without any fruitful result.
We have not had electricity here for the past fifteen years even when we are situated at the heart of town. It is very disheartening and it makes us feel as if we are not part of Akwa Ibom State. How can you break-even in business when you run the business with generator from morning till close of work. Please government and PHCN should come to our aid”
On her part, Mrs. Magaret Okpon while appealing to our reporter expressed her displeasure at the ugly scenario noting that the situation was telling on profitability of businesses in the area as they have to depend on generators to run their various business thereby running into loses.
“It is very difficult to run businesses depending on generators as this would tell on the sustenance of the business. We are in dire need of an immediate intervention from government and power holding company of Nigeria. Our businesses may fold up if nothing is done urgently”.
None of the PHED officials approached was forthcoming with comments. They insisted the right person to speak on the matter was the Marketing Manager, who was not on seat at the time of visit.
Source: The Killer Punch