The residents of Ijede, the host community of the Egbin Thermal Station, which is the largest power generating station in Nigeria, have charged the management of the station and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to ensure that power supply to the community is improved.
They were of the view that improved power supply will bring about economic development and prosperity in the ancient Ijede community.
They gave the charge at a ceremony in honour of sponsors of the Ijede Development Foundation, tagged, ‘Sponsor’s Day and Presentation of Activity Report For 2014 to 2019’, which was held at the IDF Secretariat in ljede at the weekend.
Raising the issue on the power supply to the community after the representative of the power station donated an undisclosed amount of money towards the IDF educational project at the ceremony, Dr Ganiy Agbaje, the Director/Chief Executive at the African Regional Centre for Space Science &Technology Education – English (ARCSSTE-E) and the Chairman of the occasion, charged Egbin Thermal and TCN to ensure that power supply is improved in ljede to empower residents.
He said that the only money that the community needed from the Egbin Thermal Station is to economically support residents through constant power supply to do their businesses.
“The money that you are presenting to us is appreciated but that is not what we really needed in Ijede. We need you to improve your power supply to the Ijede community which is your host community”, he said.
“The only money that you can give us is to provide us with constant power to empower our people in their businesses.
“There are many that are fishermen and need to preserve their fishes. How could such people do so if there is no power? There are many other businesses too that need power to thrive. With light, the community will be prosperous and developed”, he added.
High Chief Babatunde Ogunmuyiwa, the Odofin of Ijede, also speaking, said that the management of Egbin Thermal Station is treating the host community with disdain and contempt, stating that the power company cannot do that in the Niger – Delta.
“The management of Egbin is not treating Ijede people well at all”, the High Chief said.
“They got over 9000 plots of land from us to build the thermal station and that deprived us of the use of our lands for productive and economic purposes. They are supposed to give back to us in terms of power supply to the community”, Odofin Ogunmuyiwa narrated.
“They are treating us like this because we are peace – loving people. They dare not do that in the Niger – Delta. Ijede, as the host community of Egbin Thermal Station, must be given consideration in terms of power supply but what we are having is terrible”.
Reacting to the allegations that the management of the Egbin Thermal Station has given the Alajede – in – Council with 60 ‘Marwas’ (tricycles) as bribe to prevent the community from embarking on protest against the poor power supply, Odofin Ogunmuyiwa denied the allegation and provided details of what actually happened.
“The issue of Marwa has no relation with supply of power to the community because that is what we have been demanding for and they must give the Ijede community its due share of the power being generated as the host community. That is the only way to compensate our people”, Odofin Alajede said.
“What actually happened was that our youths usually stopped Egbin’s trucks bringing equipment into the thermal station, a development which did not go down well with the Egbin management”.
THE IMPACT gathered that the matter involved the Department of Security Service (DSS) and the Nigerian Police and lasted for about two months.
We also gathered that the Egbin management resolved to empower the youths in Ijede, Egbin and Ipakan who are engaged in the act of collecting toll from their trucks. As part of the resolve to placate the youths and the community, they bought 60 Marwa (tricycles) to be distributed among the three segments of the Ijede LCDA.
Our reporter, however, gathered that Alajede – in – Council, who were part of the resolution between the power company and the youths, were not informed about the decision of the company to buy the tricycles instead of giving the youths money.
After considering the implications of allowing the company to distribute the tricycles, the community chieftains resolved that the decision of the management to dole out the tricycles would further cause problems among the youths in Ijede, Egbin and Ipakan communities.
The offer, THE IMPACT gathered, was rejected by the community, hence, the reason the tricycles bought by Egbin management are still languishing in their yard several months after delivery.
An elderly woman who is one of the IDF’s sponsors, Alhaja M. A. Yekeen, commended the chairman of the occasion and the Odofin of Ijede for the way they handled the power issue.
She further charged the Alajede – in – Council to reject the tricycle gifts and ensure that the Egbin management improved on power supply to the community.
Other people that spoke at the event also charged the Egbin management to improve on power supply to Ijede to enhance economic development.