ByÂ George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€”The Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa and 40,000 residents of Rukpokwu cluster communities have been thrown into darkness, following the crushing of 15 poles and two transformers belonging to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria by a hit-and-run lorry.
Vanguard learnt that the airport landing facilities and other operations are currently being powered by a generator, while the people of the commercial cluster communities are sourcing for alternative means of electricity.
Business Manager of PHCN in Rumuodomaya unit, Mr. Eugene Chuku, said the destruction took place at about 2.15 am, Monday, and was carried out by a lorry allegedly escorted by some armed security men, which did not stop as â€œit knocked off the poles, causing destruction to the two transformers.”
There was an explosion in this area and some residents said it was so loud that it caused panic, as they thought it was armed robbery attack, but the vigilante group who saw it all summoned courage and started chasing the lorry.
â€œThe destruction here would run into several millions of naira, when you think of what it cost to buy the transformers, which is 500 KVA each, but we are doing everything possible to restore power to the airport, after which we would sort out that of the communitie.â€
It was observed that four cars parked under the poles were destroyed, following which some residents said lives would have been lost if the incident happened during the day â€œbecause people would have been walking along the road by the poles.â€
Operators of some small scale businesses in the area such as welding, restaurants, hair dressingÂ and barbing salons, provision and medicine stores, drinking joints and fast foods plazas complained of the excessive pressure that will be put on their generators and the extra money to be spent on petrol and diesel for the period that the blackout would last.