A group of aggrieved women numbering over 50 protested last week to Diobu Business Unit of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) over what they described as frustrating power outage in their area.
The women, who identified themselves as Adelabu women, matched in their black attire along the popular Ikwerre Road with bells and empty cans, chanting emotional songs.
A member of the group, who identified herself as Chinyere Obed told The Tide that they were in the PHCN office to express their anger and to demand explanations why Adelabu Street had been denied light for months.
According to Mrs. Obed, all efforts by the men to get the company to supply light to the street had not yielded any positive result, adding that one of their line up of actions was to visit the company office to hear from the PHCN officers whose responsibility was to supply power in the area.
“For over eight months now, we don’t have light and even when it comes, what we see is quarter current that cannot carry ordinary fan, let alone refrigerator,” she said.
She further explained that the situation of power supply in the street was making life unbearable and frustrating business outfits in the area.
“We know that all is not well with power supply in the country, particularly in Port Harcourt, but I want to tell you that ours is different when compared with what obtains in the other streets, especially nearby streets,” she continued.
She regretted that in spite of the fact that they were denied of light, PHCN officers come regularly with bills, and wondered why they were only interested in collecting bills while the services remain poor.
The Corporate Affairs Manager of PHCN in the Diobu Business Unit, Mr Herbert Ani, who addressed the protesting women, said the cause of the power situation in the area was technical fault which the company was doing everything possible to fix.
Mr Ani urged the women to remain calm, and assured them that the company would restore light to the street.
He said PHCN is committed to improving the present power situation in spite of some challenges facing the company.
When The Tide reporter visited the street Wednesday, which was a day after the protest, it was observed that PHCN had fulfilled its promise as made by the company image maker as light was restored in the street.
However, on Saturday, The Tide gathered that the women were planning another round of protest as there was blackout again.
Mr. Obinna Nicholas Nwaekeala, youth leader in the street said PHCN only brought light the day after the women protested, and since then, the situation had gone back to what it used to be.
One of the women, who spoke to The Tide disclosed that the women have started mobilizing for another round of protest.
“We are not protesting to PHCN office this time around. We are matching straight to the Government House so that Governor Amaechi will hear our cry,” she said.
“We pay our bills regularly but why our own case is different is what we must find out,” she remarked.
RSG Lauds Refining Firm’s Friendly Policies
The Rivers State government has commended Niger Delta Refineries Limited, an indigenous petroleum refining company, based in the state, for its friendly policies on environment and community relations.
The State Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Banigo, made the commendation, when she led members of the House of Assembly Committee on Environment and officials of the State Ministry of Environment on a facility visit to the company.
She said the state government, was aware of the company’s positive impact within and outside its area of operation, appreciated its impact on environment and in community relations.
According to her, the state government is interested in modular refineries in order to discourage illegal refineries as well as safeguard the lives of the people of Rivers.
“We want to discourage illegal refineries to save lives and ensure a safe environment.
“ We are also interested in knowledge transfer and job creation for our teeming youths,” she said.
Earlier, the company’s General Manager (Refineries/Projects), Mr Femi Olaniyan, who conducted Banigo’s team around the facility, said the company established about 25 years ago was operating on Ogbele Field Oil Mining Lease (OML) 54 in Rivers.
He said the company’s vision was to be completely indigenous, adding that it was 95 per cent owned by Nigerians.
According to Olaniyan, the refinery is managed by Nigerians with proven expertise and track record.
“As early as 2006, our company decided to eliminate gas flaring and a gas processing plant was built and commissioned.
“Now, we are the only indigenous company to supply gas to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in Bonny Island here in Rivers state.
“We have so far supplied over 50 billion tons of gas to LNG in Bonny. In 2011, we built 1,000 barrels per day production facility.
“We now produce three trucks of diesel per day from our plant here.
“We also produce diesel in commercial quantity with customers drawn from the North East, North West, Abuja, Lagos and so on,” he said.
He also told the team that in 2016, the company commenced the expansion of its refinery to an integrated facility to produce up to 11,000 barrels of jet fuel, diesel, marine diesel and heavy fuel oil per day, adding that the expanded facility would commence full operations by May 2020.
Olaniyan further said that the company, which also produced gas for domestic consumption, “has since Jan. 26, 2019 clocked one million man hours with zero lost time injuries.”
“Our facility, a subsidiary of Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc, is privately owned and can convert Naphtha to petrol with 60 per cent of its labour force from the community and has no negative safety issues.
“A considerable number of Nigerians have gained from our deliberate efforts to ensure knowledge transfer,’’ Olaniyan said.
Power Supply: AfDB Set To Invest $200m In Nigeria
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to invest 200 million dollars through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to boost power supply in Nigeria.
The Acting Vice President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth Complex (AFDB) Mr Wale Shonibare, said this when he led some management staff of the bank on a visit to the Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba in Abuja on Monday.
Shonibare, also the Director, Energy and Installation in the bank, said that the AfDB board had approved 200 million dollars for the sector through REA to support the roll out of mini grids.
“The AFDB is very active in the power sector of Nigeria and we are ready to do more, the board has approved 200 million dollars to the sector through the REA.
“We are supporting the programme to roll out mini grids across the country and also to encourage productive use of the grids to upgrade communities
“We are also involved in energising education, a programme under which we are dedicating power systems to eight federal universities,’’ he said.
Shonobare said that the bank was also very involved in the transmission sector of the country as it had a 410 million dollars project to support transmission.
According to him, 200 million dollars has already been approved by AfDB board for phase one to improve transmission lines and provision of sub-stations.
“I understand that the agreement was signed last week and we expect the project to progress.
“We are involved in the Jigawa power project, we have approved a grant of one million dollars to support the feasibility study for phase one and the studies are almost completed.
“We are aware of the issues in the sector and we are working with all the players in the sector, the regulators, NBET all along the value chain looking at how we can make the sector efficient,’’ he said.
Responding, the Minister of State, Jedy-Agba said that the federal government was willing to do more in partnership with AfDB to provide electricity for Nigerians.
Jedy-Agba said that power was the bedrock of development, adding that if the country could get it right with technology, they could also do same with power.
He said that Nigeria was in the process of increasing its power generation capacity and the sector as it was keying into funds available by the AfDB to enhance further growth in the sector.
“AfDB had been investing in the sector and they planned to invest more by increasing their funding in development of the power sector,’’ he said.
He assured the AfDB team that any money given to the power sector would be judiciously utilised and accounted for.
PHED Links Power Outage To TCN’s Technical Fault
The Port Harcourt , Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, has disclosed that the power outage being experienced by the residents of Elelenwo, Old Oyigbo, Rivers State Television station and its environs, Onne, Bori since Friday, March 6, 2020 was due to a faulty auxiliary transformer belonging to Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.
The power distribution company, in a press statement however, stated that the technical crew from the TCN had already been mobilised to the station to ensure that the fault was rectified as soon as possible.
The statement added that power supply will be restored at the affected areas as soon as the fixing of the technical fault was completed.
The statement, solicited for the patience of its esteemed customers that were affected by the forced outage, while waiting for the restoration.
The company also restated its commitment to quality service delivery to its members.
Meanwhile, some residents of the affected areas have lamented the effects of the outage on their businesses.
A cross section of the residents who spoke with our correspondent, called on PHED and other relevant authorities to fix the problem and restore power supply in the area.
The residents also called on PHED to live up to its new policies on enhanced service delivery to enhance its business profile and earn the confidence of its teeming customers.
One resident, Comrade Michael Budum, who spoke with The Tide, said power supply had been one of the major challenges in the area.
He said , “I want to use this opportunity to urge PHED to improve on its services to earn the confidence of its customers, let people get results form their power bills through power delivery services”.
By: Taneh Beemene
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