Iwhrekan community set for a show down with NPDC over electric power bills footing
By Jon Egie
The President General of Iwhrekan community in Ughelli South LGA, Mr George Djukpan has called on the management of Nigeria Petroleum Company (NPDC) to prevail on the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to stop embarrassing the community further by frequent disconnection of electric power supply to the community.
He recalled that on January 17, 1989 when General Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda (rtd) came to commission the Utorogu gas plant the former military President promised that one of the benefits the three host communities (Iwhrekan, Otor-Udu and Otujeremi) would enjoy was constant electric power supply directly from the gas plant. But that promise was not to be kept and consequently the three communities protested the neglect and following the protest, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) took over the electric bills for the three communities.
With the present change of ownership of the oil major’s exploration area from SPDC to NPDC the new management of NPDC has reneged on the social responsibility of footing the electric bills for the host communities. When the communities insisted on the standing pledge by the former military Head of State (IBB), they were repeatedly told by PHCN that NPDC has failed and is reluctant to foot the bills any further.
“I have invited NPDC for a meeting to that effect, the meeting is scheduled to hold on July 12 and if they (NPDC) fail to honour the invitation, we (Iwhrekan community) being the sole host to NAG-2 project of the gas plant will protest by shutting down the gas plant.
“We insist that NPDC should supply the communities electricity power directly from the gas plant as it is done in Omoku, Escravos and the whole of Onega in Rivers State. They do not use NEPA light, they are hooked directly to Agip, Total-Elf sources of electric power supply.
“We will go at length to make sure that our demands are met unless NPDC is telling us that what they get from our land is water and not crude oil and gas”.
He particularly drew the attention of Chief Zik Gbemre, Chairman of Niger Delta Peace Coalition, to the development and urged him to use his good offices to also prevail on NPDC to see reason why their demands must be met.
“We do not need the NEPA light, we need to be connected directly to the gas plant to avoid these undeserved inconveniences” he added.