Communities in darkness cry for help
Communities hosting the Olorunsogo Power Plant, which has a designed capacity of 754 Mega Watts, in Olorunsogo area of Ogun State, have decried government’s inability to connect them to the grid over the years, despite their nearness to the power generation plant.
According to investigations, the over 80 communities, which fall between Ifo and Ewekoro local government areas of the state, have been living in darkness for as long as 100 years.
The communities include; Olorunsogo, Ikereku-lerin, Obasa, Orogbe-Asaye, Ishola, Orogbe-Oloki, Oba, Mose, Apode, Fashola and Sunre-Okenla, among others, are Egba people, who are predominantly farmers.
Chairman, Baale-in-council of Sunre area, Ifo local government, Chief Segun Sopeju told The Guardian that aside the problem of electricity, the major challenge faced by the communities is the dilapidated state of the Papalanto/Sagamu road, which links up with the Lagos/Benin expressway, a serious headache to residents of the area.
He noted that at the time when the power plant was still wholly owned by government, there was a link between them and government, through a Chief Liason Officer, to mediate on the needs of the communities, but nothing meaningful was achieved.
“There was a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) then that the host communities would be supplied electricity but nothing happened until recently when 12 transformers were seen in some communities, but since then they were not energised and nobody was seen again. Throughout the entire Sunre ward, there is no public secondary school, primary schools are also inadequate.
“There is no government presence, no empowerment programmes, even land grabbers are disturbing us, because of lack of government’s presence. People are duped and dispossessed of their land and properties. The councilors that had represented the area made no impact on the communities, except for a block of two classrooms that has become an abandoned project.”
Sopeju appealed to both state and Federal Governments to come to their aid, saying, they “cannot be living beside the stream and still be thirsty.”