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TCN Raises Alarm Over Rising Right-Of-Way Obstructions

The Transmission Company of Nigeria, Port Harcourt Region, has raised the alarm over the rising interference on its lines right of way across communities within its six mandate states.

The company said this situation, coupled with the vandalisation and stealing of its equipment in Rivers, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, and Bayelsa states, poses a huge challenge to power transportation.

To this end, the company called on the Federal Government to deploy military personnel and operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to help secure power stations.

The General Manager, TCN, Port Harcourt Region, Dr. Inugonum Thomas, stated this while speaking with newsmen shortly after a guided tour of facilities at the company in Port Harcourt on Friday.

Thomas stated that the transmission sector is very important in the power chain, which underscores the need for the transmission lines to be safe at all times.

He, however, said, “Many times we suffer from people attacking the transmission lines, destroying it, removing parts of the towers, making us not to have the transportation done easily.

“I remember sometimes when I joined my colleagues in the bushes to see these failed transmission lines and what had caused it. We saw some hoodlums even attacking the gas pipeline as well as our own transmission lines. If we were not lucky that day, they would have shot us. So, vandalisation occurs virtually every time.

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Continuing, he said, “The right of way of our transmission lines is another challenge we are having because most times the moment you come that you want to start a project, the community sees that there is movement here,

“Once they see that it is a project that is going to help them, it becomes a problem. They will want to stop it by all means. So I began to wonder, you want to give somebody food, and he said no. And he doesn’t even have the food.

“There was a particular project we wanted to construct in Akwa-Ibom. the community people dug 500 graves because they wanted to demand compensation.”

He said most times in Calabar, Cross River State, and Elelenwo in Obio/Akpor local government area of Rivers State, the firm’s transmission lines were vandalized repeatedly for two months until the intervention of security personnel.

On the consequence of such actions, Dr Thomas said, “When people are doing these evil things, they are not thinking because in the process they will kill so many people. Once that tower rests in our house, if it’s 100 houses, nobody will come out. It is as bad as that.

“So I call on the government to help us. If it means sending some military men or NSCDC to our stations so that they can monitor them, because there are some of our stations when you come they (vandals) have already cut the earth conductors for big transformers that cost almost N800,000 million.”

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He explained that when these conductors are severed, technically, that machine is floating and can go into flames anytime, adding that the  TCN management was executing a number of projects in the past three years because these are projects you don’t do in one year.

On his part, the Assistant General Manager, Port Sub-Region, Engr Ben Ezemobi, said the company is currently installing a 100MVA transformer, saying when added to the 180, it would become 280MW to effectively cater to the power needs of Rivers State.

Source: Punch

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