The Bayelsa State Government has directed the Managing Director of the State Electricity Company, Engineer Olice Kemenanabo, to immediately connect Otuasega community in Ogbia Local Government Area to the national grid.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the directive on Thursday at an emergency meeting with community leaders of Otuasega and representatives of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at his office in Government House, Yenagoa.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, explained that the decision to hook up Otuasega to the national grid had become inevitable following the failure of SPDC to fulfill its earlier promise.
It would be recalled that the oil company had set December 14 this year as target to commence power supply from the SPDC Kolo Creek Oil and Gas Manifold to cluster communities in the area.
The Deputy Governor, who decried the continued black out in Otuasega community and its environs, blamed SPDC’s failure on the inability of government, the SPDC, and the people of Otuasega to meet regularly and follow up the resolutions reached at the September 24, 2021 tripartite meeting.
He said the community deserved to enjoy power supply from the National Grid as a temporary measure, while efforts would be intensified to power the community from the SPDC manifold in the first quarter of 2022.
According to Senator Ewhrudjakpo, meetings would be regularly held with SPDC until the power supply issue in the area was laid to rest, noting that he was not happy that the project could not be delivered as earlier agreed.
He therefore appealed to the people of Otuasega to be patient and remain law-abiding to enable government take practical steps towards ending the protracted blackout in their community.
Speaking earlier on behalf of the Otuasega Community, the CDC Chairman, Mr. Raniyar Marcus, expressed disappointment with the SPDC for reneging on its promise to deliver the job by the December 14, 2021 deadline collectively agreed by all the parties some months ago.
Mr. Marcus noted that the December 21 non-violent protest that led to the shutting down of the SPDC manifold was staged by the community to register their anger, stressing that SPDC had always taken the Otuasega people for granted.
In his presentation, the Community Relations Manager, SPDC (East), Mr. Evans Krukrubo, explained that the multinational company was not happy that the power project was not delivered according to schedule.
Mr Krukrubo, however, thanked the Otuasega community for their maturity, patience and understanding so far,
and assured them that the SPDC was committed to working with the state government to deliver on the project by the end February 2022.