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Regional News of Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Source: Punch

Bayelsa community threatens showdown with NDPHC

File photo: Bayelsa State map File photo: Bayelsa State map

The aggrieved people of Gbarain Kingdom in the Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have threatened a showdown with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company following a prolonged power outage in the area which started in the last quarter of 2020.

It was gathered that a technical glitch had caused a fire incident at the Gbarain power station which threw the area into total blackout.

The NDPHC management was said to have taken notice of the incident initially, but its inability to fix the problem after several months had caused fear among residents that the company was not concerned about their plight.

There are also concerns that if left to linger, the power problem could hamper the state government’s response to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as the state-owned Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, which is the state’s major isolation centre, is supplied electricity from the 60MVA transformer.

Expressing dismay over the development, the President of Gbarain Youth Federation, Okponipre Iweribakumo, said the angry residents were ‘only being restrained by the state government’s intervention in the issue’.

He said they were worried that even if the government succeeded in sorting out the prescribed scope, the management of NDPHC had yet to make any move to resolve the problem.

There were also reports that the diesel needed to power the generator to carry out basic functional test after the completion of the state government intervention could not be provided by NDPHC.

It was further learnt that cables supplying the outgoing feeder to the Ogboloma sub-station and the NDUTH had been allegedly vandalised and this had worsened the situation.

The intermediary between the state government and the NDPHC, Olice Kemenanabo, confirmed that Governor Douye Diri had approved the intervention just as he did during the climax of the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020.

He also confirmed that work had begun and assured that it would be completed in a few days’ time.

Kemenanabo said he was in touch with the management of NDPHC over the issue, but cautioned that the firm must be alive to its obligations to avoid an imminent showdown.

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