The General Officer Commanding, GOC, 6th Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Major General Enobong Okon Udoh, has assured the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company of partnership, co-operation and security, to ensure the smooth running of its operations in its area of coverage.
General Udoh made this promise during a courtesy visit to the Division by the Management of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company.
The GOC thanked the management of PHED for finding time to visit the Division and applauded her for maintaining good relationship with the Army especially in providing power supply despite the huge debt owed the company.
He commended the partnership that has always existed between both parties, noting that electricity is as essential as the presence of the military, which allows for peaceful execution of duties without much ado.
He however, reminded PHED that it is the primary responsibility of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, to secure critical national infrastructure and public utilities.
Udoh assured the PHED Management of providing them the needed security anytime they are called upon especially in the areas of staff harassment by the general public.
In his words, “The security issue is very paramount, though, protecting critical national infrastructure and public utilities remains under the purview of the NSCDC.
“ We work together with NSCDC and can assure you that we will render the necessary aid if we are called upon, even if it means deploying officers to help reduce security issues to the barest minimum.” The Army General said.
On huge debt owed PHED, Major General Udoh said that it would be communicated to Army Headquarters for its settlement but he noted that some of the bills were estimated and would welcome the decision of the PHED in installing pre-paid meters in their locations such as Abak, Port Harcourt, among others.
Earlier in his speech, Chief Executive Officer, PHED, Jay McCoskey had commended the Army on the role it is playing in securing the lives and properties of Nigerians especially its immense contribution in curbing insurgency in the North East and the relative calm that its presence has brought in the Niger Delta Region.
McCoskey told the GOC that PHED had embarked on many projects to improve power supply. This has resulted in the creation of 34 commercial lines and the extension of 24/7 power supply to cluster areas of Port Harcourt. Plans are ongoing to conclude and commission similar projects in other cities within the licensed area.
However, McCoskey lamented the debt owed PHED by customers as a big draw back for the implementation and success of the projects.
“As at November 2016, PHED is being owed N58.9B by customers in the four states, aside from a legacy debt of N32.3B making a total debt stock of N91.2B.
“ Out of the above sum, Army, Navy and Air Force owe N2,120,837,452.49, N525,709,976.76 and N180,127,282.44 respectively, making a total debt of N2,833,001,288.84.
“If this money is paid to PHED, it will enable the company carry-out network expansion, maintenance and other statutory obligations. We hereby solicit your support and assistance in the payment of the outstanding debt particularly that of the Army,” the CEO said.
The PHED Boss also sought the permission and approval of the Army General to install bulk pre-paid meters in the mammy markets at Ikom , Bori Camp and Abak barracks, which are all within his jurisdiction.