By Gabriel Enogholase
THE Lot 3 Ihovbor Power Station currently being executed by the Federal Government under its National Integrated Power Project at Ihovbor in Uhunmwode Local Government Area of Edo State was, yesterday, shut, following a peaceful demonstration embarked upon b y the community to press home their demands from the main contractor handling the construction of the plant.
Besides, they also frowned at what they described as the unwholesome treatment being melted out to them and their traditional ruler, HRH Fortune Igbinakenzua by the main contractor, who they accused of owing their traditional the sum of over N100 million for contracts executed for the company.
The over 500 workers, who arrived at the power station as early as 7 am, were prevented by youths of the community from gaining access to the company as its main gate was under lock and key.
The workers were, however, told go home at about 11 pm by the management of the company after efforts made by them to persuade the youths to allow the workers in to resume work for the day, failed.
Spokesman for the youths of the community, Mr. Samuel Uyigue told Vanguard that they decided to lock the main entrance leading to the construction site to protest the unwholesome attitude of the main contractor handling the major works, PGS/Marubeni to the their traditional ruler and Duke, HRH Fortune Igbinakenzua.
He also accused the contractor of failing in its social corporate responsibilities to the community, saying that the community has no electricity, pipe borne water or good access road just s it has failed to give gainful employment to its youths except as labourers.
Also, speaking in an interview with Vanguard, the traditional ruler of the community, HRH Fortune Igbinakenzua who corroborated the claims by the youths, said the royalty due to him for the last four years since the contractor commenced its operation was not paid to him.
According to him, “my people are here this morning to express their displeasure over the main contractor’s attitude to their Enogie(Duke). For over 4 or 5 years now, precisely 2006, I have shown them love, provide security for their operations and assist them in what ever way, but they have failed to appreciate this. In a contract of this magnitude, there should be room for community relations, but this they are not doing”.
“I have been doing my best to encourage the contractor and the government to ensure the successful completion of this project, but the foreign contractor, PGS/Marubeni has not been of help. They have deprived me of my entitlements and my rights. We were the major supplier to their major contractor that has pulled out, that is, Petroline Global Solutions Ltd. As I speak to you now they owe us over N100 million and the case is court now”.