What seemed like a calculated effort to make their grievances known to relevant authorities, the people of Oguta in Oguta local government area of Imo state, Thursday held a peaceful protest over total black out of their community which has lasted over five years.
The placards carrying people of the area, with inscriptions “No to payment of our bills to ISOPADEC, it is fraud”, “Oguta progressive forum (OPF) and stakeholders are asking, where is the 13% derivatives”, “we are marching for our rights, stop paying, EEDC restore light to Oguta” they marched in their numbers from the Oguta community Government council Civic Centre, round the community with stopover at the traditional rulers palaces, calling on relevant authorities to restore light in their community.
In a interview with the architect of the peaceful protest, and Nigerian renowned actor, Clem Ohaneze, he said they were embarking on the peaceful protest over a five year blackout in his community. He stated that, they believe in dialogue and do not want to tow the path of the Niger Delta militants adding that, the youths are enraged, but that the elders are doing all in their power to calm them down.
The Oguta born actor informed that the protest is not targeted at anybody even as it is apolitical, but for the best interest of the people while they pass their message across. He added that the light issue has been politicized for too long, which is why they said enough is enough through peaceful protest.
HRH, Eze Nnani oputa, who spoke through his spokesman, addressed the mammoth crowd that, their agitation was the right thing at the right time, that, the people cannot be in a community without light.
The area produces resources Nigeria enjoys today, even as he insisted that whatever they can possibly do to see that light is restored, in a peaceful manner, he is in support of it. President of the Oguta Progressive forum (OPF), Tagbo Reuben Ohanyere said the protest which was a peaceful one, was done to pass their message across, adding that the relevant authorities have been given one month to restore light in the area, adding that the EEDC and ISOPADEC are not Oguta’s position even as he said that Oguta is ready to pay their electricity bills. While adding a note of warning that, at the expiration of one month and nothing is done, Oguta will be brought to limelight, as is happening in the Niger Delta.
A stopover at the oldest man and chairman of Opara in Oguta, Aje Okene, Ezi Chi Oha, the kingmaker, he said he was relieved that there was no violence and the protest went peacefully remote areas, while recounting the history of the light out age, adding that Oguta has been relegated. The king maker was glad that the youths have made their move all be it, peaceful. The protest was rounded off at the civic centre, with Clems Ohaneze thanking God for a successful outing and the people dispersed to their respective homes.