Youths in Ogonokom community in Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State have given Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) a two-week ultimatum to include their community in an on-going electrification project linking the local government area with some neighbouring riverine communities or face disruption of the project.
The ultimatum was issued Friday when the Chairman of Abua/Odual Local Government Council, Hon Udisen Odum visited Ogonokom to plead with the youths to allow workers on the project resume work.
The youths, who apparently had the nod of their chiefs and elders, had penultimate Thursday mobilised in their numbers and forced workers on the project site to suspend work, alleging non-inclusion of their community in the electrification project.
The project is a national grid upgrade linking Abua/Odual with Degema and other riverine communities.
A representative of the youths, Mr. Reuben Utazi, who spoke to The Tide, Friday said the youths were not against the project but the exclusion of Ogonokom from the electrification project even when the wireline runs through the community.
He noted that in the past, their community had suffered similar experience when the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) carried out a rural electrification project in the area.
“The defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) included Ogonokom 1 and 2 in its rural electrification project. We saw it on paper, but till today, while other parts of Abua/Odual are enjoying light, our community still suffers in darkness,” he said.
His view was corroborated by an elder in the community, Mr. Thankyou Moyimar, who noted that the exclusion of Ogonokom from such an important project was unfair, and urged PHCN and Rivers State Government to look into their plight.
Efforts to contact Hon. Odum could not yield result but one of his aides who spoke to The Tide confirmed that the council boss had intervened in the matter, and expressed confidence that a quick resolution of the matter would be achieved.