IBOM POWER PLANT: HOST COMMUNITY PROTEST OVER 15 YEARS BLACKOUT
Enwono-Abasi Elisha, 15 Jan, 2020
Youth of Ikot Abasi village in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area have taken to the street over the lack of power supply in their community for the last 15 years.
The protest, Tuesday, disrupted activities in Ibom Power Plant of the state.
The youth numbering thousands blocked the entrance and placed a traditional injunction with eight human corpses stopping movement in or out of the company.
The youth leader of Ikot Abasi village and Chairman Youth President’s Forum of Ikot Abasi, Mr Archibong Williams said the protest was necessary because the people had been suffering for more than fifteen years without being connected to the national grid despite being the host of Ibom Power Plant.
Since their several appeals to the management have fallen on deaf ears, the youth including market women and students decided to shut down the operation of the company until positive response is given to their plight.
“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 aggrieved youth, women and students are here. Sometime, 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 eight corpses as a an injunction to stop movement in or 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 adamant not coming out with positive response since their agitation.
“What we have done is a peaceful protest against poor electricity supply to our communities. This agitation has been there for a long time but nothing positive has been done.
“Last year, Gov. Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom was here and after that we see some transformers brought in 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 communities which was not even there in the original plan of the Power Plant.
Etukudo said the management and the 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 sub station 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 in Ikot Abasi.
“But the next thing they could do was shut down the place. They Paramount ruler called me and I was there about 3pm today,” he said.
He explained that when the Ibom Power Plant was constructed, the station service transformers to connect 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 need 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.