By Simeon OSAJIE
Activities in government offices, health facilities and other areas have been grounded for days now in Benin City, Edo State as a result of non availability of power.
Investigations showed that the power outage was as a result of the non-supply of gas to the Ossiomo Power Company which has been supplying electricity to government buildings, street lights, some private homes, courts, the Edo State Industrial Hub where several micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) operate including the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) where journalists send their reports to their respective offices.
Some of the operators in the Industrial Hub lamented their plight to journalists as they said they have lost fortune because of no power which entered its fourth day on Friday.
It was gathered that surgeries have been stopped at the Edo state government owned health facilities like primary health centres in the state capital, the Edo State Specialist Hospital and others to avoid deaths.
There was anxiety at the NUJ press centre as the place was out of water supply which led to the leadership locking all bathrooms and toilets in the complex because of lack of water. Journalists were stranded as many of them said their phones and laptops were out of power and some of them were sighted trooping to a nearby hotel to power their tools and send reports.
A dealer in frozen food at the Industrial hub told journalists that, “I have lost so much running into millions of naira. We were forced to bury our frozen products that had become unfrozen and were rotting away because we depended on this Ossiomo light.”
A staff of Ossiomo power laid the blame at the feet of the gas supplier, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, a subsidiary of the NNPCL which he said questions the competence of some of the personnel there.
“We are not suspecting sabotage though but the situation is that we have different oil mining licenses in this country supplying gas. Right now, about the biggest one is OML 34 in Oben operated by Seplat, compare the performance of Seplat at Oben and the performance of NPDC at Ologbo, the gas is there, the oil is there, the resources are there is just who is managing the resources, maintain and operating them, that is where the challenge is.
“For example, we had a challenge in one of our substations and NPDC brought archaic materials that put everybody at risk and we had to buy the equipment which is not our role. This has gone on for four days and if you ask them, they won’t even tell you but it has to do with competence.`”
When The9JaTREND visited the Ogba in Benin City headquarters of the NPDC, a senior personnel in the operations department said he cannot speak officially for the company but that, “I have been able to reach the engineer who is working to fix the problem and he assured the issue will be resolved before Sunday.”