Host communities of Afam Power Station in Oyibo Local government Area of Rivers State, have vowed to resist every attempt by Transcorp Plc to assume operation of the multibillion naira plant until the Federal Government complies with their demands.
The communities spoke during a peaceful protest at the gates of the facility yesterday to express their grievances over the failure of the government to carry out its supposed corporate social responsibility to the host communities, local councils after 60 years of operation in the area.
The people who barricaded the three gates leading to the premises of the power generation company with heap of sand, fresh palm fronts and pasted placards, with inscriptions of their messages equally alleged exclusion in the privatisation deal of the station, insisting that neither the management of the new company nor its workers would be allowed access to the plant until the major road leading to the plant which is currently in a deplorable state is fixed, dualised and a comprehensive global memorandum of understanding (GMOU), drawn between the company and the communities.
They protesters accused the government of being insensitive to the hardship the “exceptionally bad Afam Power Station road” has caused both workers around there, including staffers of the Station, host community members, who according to them are predominantly farmers, residents of the LGA and other road commuters that ply the road, especially as the Port Harcourt/Enugu road is still being constructed and causing a lot of difficulty to motorists from Enugu, Aba and other parts of the region.
Speaking to newsmen at the scene of the event, the Chairman of the group, Ejike Dike disclosed that already the government has since reached an agreement in a meeting with the hosts to dualise the LGA road from the express road junction to the power station, give them 40 employment opportunities, build classroom blocks in their community schools, cottage hospital and ensure provision of 24 hour free power supply to the communities, adding that until the five point demand are implemented, Transcorp will never be allowed to commence operation in the property.
Corroborating Dike, the spokesman of the group, Light Nwankwo expressed regrets that the host community was neither notified about the plan to sale the facility to another operator, nor were they involved in such a serious deal.