The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc management has stated that the allegations made by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), which led to the invasion and attack on its employees, clients, and facilities, are untrue.
In an official statement signed by the management, the officers of the NSCDC claimed that they attacked the Rumuola Injection SubStation of PHED because they were unable to upload certain election-related materials in real time due to the Command’s loss of electricity. So they thought there might be sabotage.
The management claimed that while the NSCDC officers continued their molestation rampage and after seizing the possessions of the personnel and customers, they began questioning the staff about why the Command’s office’s energy supply had been cut off (mobile phones and wallet).
“We consider this claim a hoax as we cannot reconcile the relationship between their claim and relationship with electoral materials and PHED.
“It is worth questioning the relationship between uploading of election materials, the role of the NSCDC in the collation and uploading of same, the invasion of our business premises, and the arrest and detention of our staff,” the management said.
According to PHED, the incident occurred in the early hours of Monday, March 20, 2023, at its Rumuola Injection Sub Station in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and saw its staff immediately arrested and whisked away to the NSCDC’s cell on Olu Obasanjo Road, in complete disregard and gross violation of their fundamental rights.
It said that the NSCDC could have used a complaint redress mechanism, which would have been their first option in any case if their claim of being disconnected was credible.
“We are at a loss as to why the Commandant will order his officer to embark on such a senseless and unwarranted attack without contacting the management or anyone at PHED because we have historically maintained a mutual and robust relationship with security agencies in the state, especially the NSCDC.
“It is even more distasteful that the Commandant could swing into action erratically and irrationally when the command as an MDA, Ministry, Department, and Agency, has not been paying their electricity bills to PHED which runs into millions of naira in arrears,” the statement read. “We are constrained to notify the Command that they must pay their electricity bills and we will make claims for losses in revenue and the abuse of our staff.”
PHED also stated that it did not disconnect the Command, but that the network connecting (serving) their office had been down since Thursday the previous week, prior to the heinous incident on Monday.
The management also claimed that the command refused to release its detained and injured employees despite the intervention of security department officials.
“Our (PHED) business premises are shut down and we are already incurring losses in revenue due to the reckless action of the Port Harcourt NSCDC Command.”
However, the management of PHED has called on the National Headquarters of the NSCDC to prevail on the State Commandant, Michael Ogar.
“Call him (Ogar) to order as he is on a mission to create anarchy by misrepresenting the charter and character of the security agency,” the statement read.