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Oyigbo Blackout Triggers Protests

The sudden blackout by Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) in parts of Oyigbo for the past two months has triggered series of protests by the affected 14 communities in Oyigbo Local Government  Area of Rivers State.

The sudden blackout by Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) in parts of Oyigbo for the past two months has triggered series of protests by the affected 14 communities in Oyigbo Local Government  Area of Rivers State.

According to the Chairman of the Oyigbo People's Assembly, Comrade Ejike Promise Dike, it is disheartening that for some months they have not had power supply in their area despite their contribution to the economy of the state and federal government.

Comrade Dike said that the protest was to tell the world that the people of Oyigbo are pained and that several meetings were held, where all the companies operating in their area and the security agencies asked PHED to restore their light but all the pleas and requests fell on deaf ears. He said PHED has pushed them to the wall but promised that the wall would collapse against PHED.

He decried the total neglect of the communities by the multi-national companies operating in the area, the state and the federal governments.

He lamented that despite the presence of the multi-nationals in their communities, the people of Oyigbo are yet to feel their impact, saying that the greatest challenge of the host communities was the terrible state of the major road that links them to other parts of the state, adding that there had been several agitations and calls on the government to no avail.

Osteen Ejiasa, one of the stakeholders of Ndoki in his speech said that the Ndoki people have been maltreated, oppressed and marginalized and that PHED has not been fair to their host communities.

He alleged that PHED installation in the area has caused a lot of hazards to the people, saying that the life expectancy is dropping by the day”. The least we expected from PHED is to give their host community electricity supply without condition and not to compel them to hardship” he said.

Also speaking, High Chief Chinedu Nwaji Mbogboro, Enyi I of Isuoma Asa in Oyigbo LGA, said that the power blackout has frustrated socio-economic development in the affected communities.

His words: “The deliberate refusal of PHED to restore our light is a wicked act and has become a serious obstacle to social life in our community, which has equally affected our business activities”.

Chief Nwaji revealed that the people of his community staged the protest due to the wrong policies of PHED and urged PHED to restore their light without any more delay. He called on the state and federal governments to immediately intervene and fix their road, restore their light, give them hospital and other amenities to avoid a full scale protest that will crumble the economy of the country.

Some of the protesters, berated the federal and state governments for not providing good roads, hospital and other amenities.

The protesters also blocked the various entry and exit points of their community saying that their action was informed by the historic injustice meted out to them by the federal and state government, and PHED in particular.

Vehicular movement was affected as the surging crowd of chiefs, elders, women and youths was seen chanting solidarity songs.