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NUJ urges EEDC to improve services in Abia, condemns humiliation of travellers by soldiers at checkpoints

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NUJ urges EEDC to improve services in Abia, condemns humiliation of travellers by soldiers at checkpoints

From Peter Okore, Umuahia

The Abia state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has condemned, in strong terms, the unsatisfactory services of the Eastern Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), and called for improvements.

In their 12- point communiqué issued at the end their monthly congress held at the State secretariat of Abia State chapter of the NUJ, in Umuahia, and signed by the State chairman, Comrade Victor Ndukwe and secretary Ada Ralph Igbokwe, the journalists deplored the on-going epileptic power supply by the EEDC, high tariff, inability of EEDC to replace damaged or obsolete transformers and the loss of huge revenues by the business community as a result of long power outages in the urban centres, especially, those in the hospitality, printing, publishing industries and craftsmen, to name just a few.

As a result of the un-reliability of supply from the public power supply, private households and public enterprises/ bodies , including most business enterprises now resort to use of generators, in spite of the hike in fuel price and pollution of the environment.

It is also alleged that consumers , who have stayed for several months without power are being threatened to pay for the several months they didn’t get supply before they are reconnected.

The congress, however, acknowledged efforts of Abia State Government and security agencies in the fight against insecurity and drew attention to the rising cases of robberies and burglaries , especially, within Umuahia metropolis, and urged security agencies to rise to the occasion; just as it called for improved security across the state ahead of the Yuletide.

The journalists commended the Abia State Government for the bold steps it has so far taken to sanitize the Regional Cattle Market at Umuchieze.

They expressed support for the move by the State Government to fence the cattle market, make it non-residential and other measures deemed necessary to improve security in the area and advised “fifth columnists” against politicizing or introducing tribal sentiments into a sensitive issue like security.

The congress also observed with perplexity and condemned the on-going humiliation and dehumanization of commuters at some military check-points on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, especially, at the NNPC-Mega Filling Station junction, Umuahia, Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU)- junction, Onuaku Uturu near the border with Ebonyi State, among others.

“Congress queries the rationale behind ordering passengers to disembark at the check- point and trek across a certain vicinity, even when no checks are conducted on their vehicles”.

It, therefore, calls on the State Government to prevail on the military authorities to review the practice which is generating public condemnation.

The 12-point Communiqué reads in part:” Congress also expresses worry over the disturbing rate of extortion at military check-points at various roads in parts of the state and calls on the hierarchy of the military to halt such corrupt tendencies.

“Congress further calls for immediate removal of sandbags and other objects at road blocks long abandoned by security agents across the state and within the Ehimiri Housing Estate, Umuahia in particular, which now constitute serious risk to road users.

“ Congress notes with serious concern, the deplorable state of the Nigeria economy: the rising inflation, which has exceeded 28 percent and the attendant high cost of living and calls on Governments to quickly intervene in the spiraling inflationary trends leading to sharp increases in the prices of all commodities in markets, by investing the federal largesse from fuel subsidy removal in critical sectors that could positively affect lives.

“Congress commends the laudable efforts of Abia State Government in bridging the infrastructural deficit in the state. It hails the courage of the Alex Otti-led administration for embarking on the expansion of Ossah road to six lanes . It also commended the State Government for paying compensation to owners of properties affected by the expansion project before kicking- off the project and urges that the project be delivered in record time . It also sues for the urgent collaboration between the contractor handling the road and the FRSC in managing the regular traffic challenges occasioned by the ongoing road construction.

“Congress also commends the Government for demarcating the Umuwaya Road leading to the ever-busy Isigate city centre as part of efforts to allow for free flow of traffic around the area. It, however, notes with detest, the activities of tricycle operators who still cause unnecessary obstruction around the area, and calls on Government to ensure that the tricycle operators move into approved parks and Isigate given the expected facelift it deserves.

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” That the State Water Board should review the reticulation of public water supply in view of the environmental risks posed by the proliferation of water boreholes in the state”.

 

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