Sunshine Liberation Movement (SLM) has expressed concern over the plight of residents of Ute, a community in Owo Local Government Area, Ondo State, that has lost access to electricity supply for over 15 years.
In a statement by its national president, Mr. Dipo Ajidahun, and secretary, Mrs. Christianah Ajewole, the movement lamented that electricity supply to Ute has ceased to function since January 2006.
Meanwhile, the Congress for Rights of Ondo Southern Nationalities (CROSN) has appealed to the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to rescue the southern-most part of the state from 15 years of power blackout.
In a communique by its National President, Mr. Abiodun Fanoro and Secretary Tunde Aiyenumelo, the congress said that the southernmost part of the state had been without power supply for 15 years.
The communique admonished the governor to deeply reflect on the socio-economic implication of power blackout in Okitipupa, Ilaje, Irele and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas (LGAs) for over 15 years.
The communique noted that it was no wonder the rate of criminality was unprecedented and unduly high, as the basic local economic activities like welding, haircut and hairdressing, among others, had become moribund
It said keeping over one million people in darkness for this long certainly negated the lofty and good rural and urban development programme of the government to discourage migration from the rural environment to the cities.
SLM said: “From that period till now, successive administrations in the state have never deemed it fit to address the situation, knowing that Ute is an urban community on Ondo’s border with Edo State.
“The community leaders said they had written several letters to the government and paid several courtesy visits to succeeding state governors to lodge their complaint, all to no avail,” the SLM recalled.
The group particularly expressed dismay about its recent discovery while on a visit to the community; that residents now spread clothes on electricity wires in the streets, since there is no hope of power restoration.
The group also observed that lack of power supply all these years had made the area comfortable for criminals like kidnappers and armed robbers.
Added to the plight of Ute residents, according to the group, is the deplorable condition of its road, which has virtually left the people marooned.
“We gathered that the road was awarded by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs some years ago, to Duliz Dredging and Construction Limited, but the project had long been abandoned, with no impact,” it lamented.
The group, therefore, called on Akeredolu and authorities of the Benin Electricity Distribution Plc (BEDC), “to bail Ute community out of this perpetual life of darkness.”
It also sought explanation from the Niger Delta Ministry, on why it awarded a road project that was never executed, in the community.