The police had a hectic moment intervening


Some angry youths, on Sunday, attacked staff members and destroyed properties of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) in protest over alleged inability of the company to provide steady electricity supply to watch the World Cup tournament which began in Brazil on Thursday.?

The angry youth, who stormed the headquarters of the distribution company, blocked the ever busy Moscow Road, causing heavy vehicular traffic.

The police had a hectic moment intervening to prevent any further breakdown of law and order, Tribune reported.

One of the protesters, who did not want his name mentioned, said some residential areas had been denied electricity supply for days, adding that the protest was initially peaceful but later turned violent on the discovery that the company was under lock and key.

?When we got to the headquarters of PHED, we discovered that it was under lock and key and this infuriated us, leading to protesters vandalising cars that were packed outside the premises.

?We have been denied the opportunity to watch the ongoing World Cup matches in Brazil, because some people are not doing their job despite regular payment of our electricity bills,? he said.

The protester said the situation was made worse because he could not watch live matches of the tournament due to alleged fuel scarcity to operate his generator set.

It was gathered that the company?s business units at Borokiri, Diobu, Trans-Amadi, Rumuola and Rumuodomaya were also attacked by youths, leading to the communities being thrown into darkness.

A PHED staff, who also pleaded anonymity, said the company partially suspended its operations after the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) evicted its workers from their offices.

He said NLC officials picketed the PHED headquarters on Tuesday to protest alleged refusal of the company to pay-off retrenched union workers.

?NLC officials forcefully ejected members of staff of PHED from their office, which is the reason why power supply had to be shut down in some parts of the metropolis. ?

?When NLC demanded we leave our offices, we pleaded that they allow us continue our work while they continue negotiation with PHED management, but they refused,? he said.

The PHED said the shutdown of electricity supply was not intentional, but rather a precautionary step taken by the management to save its facilities and installations.

According to him, if PHED workers were denied access to man their posts and manage electricity installations, it would definitely affect electricity distribution.

He claimed the company unduly sacked its workers and union leaders, and also failed to pay retrenched workers their check-off dues, severance packages, among other entitlements.

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