Activities at the Ibom Power Plant were halted on Monday and Tuesday following protests against poor electricity supply by youths of the Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
It was gathered that the protesting youths barricaded the entrance to the plant and placed human corpses (taken from a mortuary) at the gate to prevent movement into and from the company.
The youth leader of Ikot Abasi village and Chairman, Youth President’s Forum in the local government, Mr Archibong Williams, said the residents had been without electricity for 15 years despite being the host to the Ibom Power Plant.
Williams said, “We host a power plant that is called the Ibom Power Plant and for years, it has been generating electricity, but we don’t see the electricity and the host communities have nothing to show for it. We have been in darkness for 15 years.”
“Sometime last year, we gave a 21-day ultimatum, which was extended to one year and some days, but our grievances were not addressed.”
“The youths, yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday), decided that the company was not going to operate again. So, we have shut down the company and put eight corpses by the gate as a traditional injunction to stop movement in and out of the company.”
The President of the Mboho Mkparawa Ikot Abasi, Frank Enoidem, described the condition of the affected communities as pathetic.
Enoidem stated, “Last year, the governor was here and after that, we saw some transformers but no light. So, we are beginning to suspect that those transformers were for political reasons.”
Reacting to the allegations, the Managing Director, Ibom Power Plant, Mr Meyen Etukudo, said the management of the firm and the representatives of the host communities had been meeting and something was being done to remedy the situation.
He stated, “The overall youth President was in my office on Friday, January 10, 2020. He saw me here as I was going to see the governor for the approval of the substation in 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. And between Friday and yesterday (Monday), how many hours?”
“But the next thing the youth did was to shut down the place. The paramount ruler called me and I was there around 3pm yesterday (Monday).”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Odiko Macdon, said he had yet to be briefed on the development in Ikot Abasi.