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10-month blackout: A’Ibom community lambasts govt, firm

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•Youths threaten to shut down Transmission Company of Nigeria sub-station
•TCN manager sues for patience 

By Chioma Onuegbu

AFAHA UBE ITAM – RESIDENTS  of UbeItam, Itu Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, host community to Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Calabar sub-region’s 132 KVA that generates electricity to other parts of the state, are poised for a showdown with the State Government and the company over suspected insensitivity to their predicament since the transformer serving their area broke down about 10 months ago.

NDV gathered that angry youths of the village have, in the past few weeks, been threatening to shut down the power sub-station because of government failure to replace the transformer.

Village head, elders unhappy

However, the village head, Eteidung Gabriel Edet, elders and chiefs, as well as top management of the sub-station have appealed for calm. Edet, who visited the manager of the Afaha Ube Itam sub-station,    expressed dissatisfaction with the way the problem was being tackled and urged him to expedite the process of fixing the bad transformer and restoring power supply to the community before things get out of hand.

He expressed the fear that the problem might linger following impassive responses from the different relevant authorities, particularly the Transmission Company, Calabar sub-region.

“It is almost 10 months now that we do not have power supply and we have written to the appropriate authorities, including this power substation, but up till now, we do not have light. Afaha Ube Itam is the host community to this power substation for a very long time now and this power station is supplying power to other parts of this state capital, so why should the host community not have light?   It is sad because we have suffered a lot,” he said.

Exercise patience – TCN sub-station manager

Responding, the manager, Mr. Akoma, who sympathized with the host community, commended the people for their peaceful disposition and patience so far, while efforts were being put in place to ensure a lasting solution to the problem.

“I remember that attention of the state government through the Special Assistant, SA, to the governor on power has been drawn to this case and that there is serious pressure from this community. That gave rise to him (SA) sending some men from his office to come and find out what is going on,    which I know they did,    but I do not know why action has been delayed up till date.

“And as a host community to this 132KVA power station,    there is no way you will be cooking the food and other people will be eating and you are left out. So, I still plead with the people to be more patient while government does what it is supposed to do.

Problem caused by overloading

Akoma  who represents TCN in the state, however, stressed the need to address the problem of overloading, which he said was responsible for the recurring breakdown of transformers given to the community.

“With the increased number of people currently residing in the area, even a 500 KVA transformer cannot serve the population. What is needed now is to break the load by creating at least three – four substations. The population has increased tremendously because the people are friendly.”


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