Residents of the Oju and Obi Local Government Areas of Benue State have bewailed months and days of blackouts that have stalled life and crippled small and medium businesses in the location.
A Facebook user, Faith Ote Uchara, who identified herself as an #IgedeFemalewriter, said via a Facebook post that the Igede Community has been without electricity since March 13th, 2023.
“We have not had light since March 13th, and since then, we have been merely surviving.” I know the best gift given to man alone beneath the heavens is the ability to adapt. “However, when one has adapted to a point that is beyond one’s limit, one has to revolt.”
TheMidlebelt Reporters learned that the said blackout had resulted in inter-communal clashes between the Okpokwu community in the Obi local government area and Ojantele in Otukpo local government before.
However, according to Ote, the communities have continued to suffer in the aftermath of the attack without proper communication from the Jos Electrical Distribution Company (JEDPlc) on why electricity has not been restored to the community.
Despite promises that power would be restored in the affected area, the power company has not been able to keep its word.
This reporter made efforts to reach the Jos Electricity Distribution Company in the affected area, through its Regional Manager, Olaniyi Ogunmakinya But he was unavailable to speak with this reporter.
However, the Saturday PUNCH reported the Manager as saying that the power outage happened because of isolators used to segment networks.
“There are what we call isolators, which we use to segment our networks.” If there are problems in some areas, we isolate those areas and allow others to have electricity while we work on the areas that have problems.
“There is an isolator towards the end of Otukpo LGA that links Obi LGA. “When it rained a few days ago and we had our lines destroyed, we had to isolate the affected areas to enable us to work on the lines,” he added.
According to him, whenever repairs are being done on the lines, the people on the Obi LGA side may have a power outage.
It’s been weeks since the company has been notified of the blackout, yet the power has not been restored yet.
Reacting to whether normalcy has returned fully to these two warring communities, Mr. Lion Ogbu, the Ito Youth President, the umbrella body regulating the activities of the Obi Local Government Youths, said, “As peace-loving people, the Igede people have opened their roads, giving access to travelers and other road users; as for the Idoma people, they have checkpoints in some parts where they are extorting travelers.”
He continued, “There is no total peace yet. The government asked that we go home and make peace first, but peace has been made and nothing has been done. The Och’Idoma who is the paramount traditional ruler of the Idoma nation visited two days ago, but only on the ground that we refused to meet at the palace.”
Asked about the reports that Sen. Abba Moro, the senator representing the Benue South Senatorial district pledged to supply a transformer and other required cables to rectify the damage, Mr. Lion said “I can’t count on a Political statement.
Another indigene who pledged to remain anonymous said “I do not know if we have done anyone wrong or committed any sin just by the virtue of coming from this part of the State. Over here, we do not have good roads or good schools, now the only thing that the Government had given to us has been taken away and we are going through a lot. They(the politicians) only remember us during the electioneering season, once that is over, we are left all alone until the next elections. We are tired, we can only hope that God will touch their hearts so they can show a pinch of Mercy to have the light issue resolved. The last time we protested for roads to be fixed, nothing has been done till now.”