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Violent clashes over electricity bills; 3 Arrested in Lower Manya municipality

BY: Naa Lamiley Bentil
Police moving in as demonstrators block the main road
Police moving in as demonstrators block the main road

Three persons have been arrested following a violent protest by some youth of the two Krobo municipalities in the Eastern Region as they resisted an action by the Power Distribution Company (PDS) to recover an GH¢84 million debt owed by residents.

There was chaos at Kpongunor, a suburb of Odumase-Krobo, as personnel of PDS were chased out by some irate youth despite the presence of police escort.

A similar exercise to collect arrears or disconnect metres of those who have defaulted in payment of electricity bills at Kpong and Nuaso, two communities also in the same area, was successful in the previous week.

However, upon entering Kpongunor last Monday at about 11:30 a.m., some youth, numbering about 500, massed up and attacked the PDS officials from the Krobo District and their police escort, and prevented them from carrying out the exercise.

Police report

The Eastern Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr Ebenezer Tetteh, said “on receipt of the report, Police quickly mobilised and got to the scene where about 500 youth were met chanting and singing ‘war songs’, with the main road blocked with logs.

He said the police quickly moved in and cleared the road for free vehicular and human movement.

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However, DSP Tetteh said, some youth, who were not happy about the police action, started pelting personnel with stones and other missiles.

He said but for the timely reinforcement from the divisional command led by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Mr C.B. Bediako, and others, the situation could have escalated.

“Meanwhile, the situation is being monitored. Men based at Nuaso Police Station are on standby for any eventuality,” DSP Tetteh said.

Home opinion

Speaking to Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity, an eye witness who is also an opinion leader in the community, said the youth were summoned to action by the ‘Nadu’ war drums, a traditional call to mobilise, as soon as the PDS personnel entered the community.

The source said “I also come from here but I totally disagree with what my people are doing”.

It said some of the residents had failed to pay their electricity bills for two years after similar violent clashes with the then Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in 2017.

“At that time, some of my people had complained of over-billing by the ECG which led to the violent clashes,” the source said.

Restrategise

When contacted, the Krobo District Regional Director of the PDS, Mr Edward Okyere, confirmed the incident, and said the company would restrategise to collect the debt.

He said even though residents owed so much, they did not want the PDS personnel to disconnect their electricity which generated the scuffle.