CALABAR: PHED/Residents Clash Over Attempted Transformer Theft

L: One protester talking with a Civil Defence personnel. R: Some of the young girls protesting

Some residents of Diamond Hill, Calabar Municipality, for a greater part of Friday night into this morning, violently engaged some persons, believed to be staff of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, and armed security operatives, who attempted to remove the electric transformer serving Diamond Hill and its environs.

We gathered that the PHEDC officials, numbering about 15, acompanied by more than a dozen heavily armed security operatives, brought into Calabar, from Port Harcourt, appear to have been commissioned to disconnect and convey the transformer located at the PHEDC Diamond Hill Power Station, by former CALCEMCO, to Port Harcourt. The supposed removal of the transformer,, was further informed, is at the instance of a blue chip flour company, who some PHEDC officials collected money from with the promise of providing her with a transformer. It took the intervention of policemen from the nearby Diamond Hill CRS Police Command headquarters, to avert what would have been a disaster as both parties refused to bulge.

A resident in the area told us that, “…we have been here since they arrived yesterday evening and the threat by the security men to shoot at us, has not and will not scare us. You can see that even the young girls in this area have come out to protest this theft. Why would they want to remove this transformer and leave us in darkness, is this not wickedness?”

PHEDC officials seen at the station, bluntly refused to speak to after it became clear that our reporter was asking piercing questions. Shortly after, the officials and security men stood down and drove off greeted by boos from the residents of the area after a standoff that lasted several hours.

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