By Tom Moses
UYO—Crisis was, yesterday, averted at the head office of Seven Energy, a gas firm in Ikot-Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State following the intervention of the Nigeria Police, NNS Jubilee and other security agencies who were on ground to maintain peace and order as hundreds of aggrieved youths embarked on protests against perceived deplorable services of the company to the people.
Also present was the Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Youth Matters, Aniefiok Iwaudofia, who pleaded with the aggrieved youths to remain calm and not take the law into their hands.
The protest, which started at 4a.m. and lasted till 3p.m, led to the blockade of all entrances to the company’s premisis by the youths, as they prevented the staff from going inside.
One of the protesters, Ifiok Isaiah and a member of the Ikot Abasi chapter of National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, accused Accugas, a subsidiary of Seven Energy, of being insensitive to the plight of the people of the state.
Another youth leader, simply identified as Edwin, lamented that the power outage, due to non-supply of gas to Ibom Power Company by Accugas, had affected many businesses, adding that it was unlawful for Accugas/Seven Energy to be collecting money for services not rendered.
He alleged that Accugas/Seven Energy signed a contract in 2009 with the state government when the price of gas was $0.40 but now stands at $3.30 to $7. He said the state government, in its magnanimity, subsidized the price of gas at that time with $1.60 for 10 years at 43MBTU a day for a total of $2.0 a unit of gas quantity, noting that now that gas is valued at $3.30 to $7.0 a unit, it was unfair for Accugas/Seven Energy to terminate such a contract or walk away after using the infrastructure of Akwa Ibom State to sell its gas to customers in other states.
According to the youths, the action of Accugas/Seven Energy was contrary to the recent understanding reached at a meeting with the state government and the frantic efforts of the management of Ibom Power to ensure a sustainable solution to the development.
It was gathered that Accugas/Seven Energy, since 2009, had received over $61 million from the state government and in return, gave only about $40 million worth of gas since January 2014 which implies that the government and its people have not benefitted optimally from the contract signed with Accugas/Seven Energy.