Youths in Port Harcourt Attacked PHED Over Power Outage


Some angry youths in Port Harcourt yesterday destroyed property of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) over power outage.

The youths staged the protest over alleged inability of the company to provide them with steady electricity supply to watch the World Cup tournament which began on Thursday. 

The mob, who stormed headquarters of the distribution company, blocked the ever busy Moscow road, causing heavy vehicular traffic. It took the intervention of the police  to  prevent further breakdown of law and order.
 
The PHED Port Harcourt centre distributes electricity to customers in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, and Rivers States.

One of the protesters, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told source that some residential areas have been without electricity supply for days.
He said the protesters embarked on a peaceful protest, but resorted to violence when they discovered that the company was under lock and key.
“When we got to the headquarters of PHED, we discovered that it was under lock and key and this infuriated us leading to vandalization of cars that were packed outside the premises. We have been denied the opportunity to watch the on-going World Cup matches in Brazil because some people are not doing their jobs, despite regular payment of electricity bills,” he said.
It was gathered that the company’s Borokiri, Diobu, Trans-Amadi, Rumuola and Rumuodomaya Business Units were also attacked by youths.
A PHED staff, who pleaded anonymity, said the company partially suspended its operations after the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) evicted its workers from their offices.
He said that NLC officials took over PHED headquarters on Tuesday, to protest alleged refusal of the company to pay-off retrenched union workers.
“NLC officials forcefully ejected members of staff of PHED from their offices and that is why power supply had to be shut down in some parts of the metropolis. When NLC asked us to leave our offices; we pleaded that they allow us continue our work while they continue negotiation with PHED management, but they refused,” he said.
Chairman of NLC in Rivers, Comrade Chris Oruge,  told newsmen that  the union took over the building over the company’s alleged victimization and sack of its workers.
He claimed the company unduly sacked its union leaders and also failed to pay retrenched workers severance packages, among other entitlements.
He added: “As long as PHED management refuses to dialogue with us, we shall continue the picketing”.

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