By Ikwen Atuaka
Residents of Obudu local government area midweek staged a peaceful demonstration against the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC over alleged extortion through over billing.
Organized by Fusion Club of Nigeria and Club 12 Obudu, the demonstration saw residents march through major streets in the Obudu main town including stops at the PHEDC office along Ogoja road and the local government secretariat.
The Councillor representing Utugwang central ward in a telephone interview with CrossRiverWatch said Obudu people are tired of the high amount been charged by the company for services that residents are not getting.
“The way these people issue bills is criminal in nature, they come in and intimidate residents threatening to cut off supply of power. In my constituency which you are aware, we did not have light for a long time because there was no infrastructure and after mounting poles and the needed infrastructure, they rushed in with the bills. It is criminal. They give to two villages in my community a bill of 60,000 a month”.
CrossRiverWatch also gathered that an unnamed man was charged 2,000 Naira for one month and was given a bill of 13,000 Naira the next month.
In a related development, a section of the Utugwang community chased away staff of the PHEDC with eyewitness accounts suggesting one might have suffered minor injuries.
It is unclear whether the staff were there to bill the community or to disconnect them from the grid.
Efforts to get comments from the office of the PHEDC located along Ogoja road opposite the Water treatment plant of the Cross River State Water Board limited were unsuccessful as staff kept mute on the issue when approached.
It will be recalled that CrossRiverWatch reported in May that the Obudu Legislature adopted a resolution to stop the payment of electricity bills following the non supply of power to residents for some time now.
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