By Etuka Sunday
The management of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Plc has handed over a 46-ton ferryboat worth approximately N8 million to the people of Idah in Kogi State.
The gesture according to AEDC was to ease movement of people and goods from the community to various parts of the country across the River Niger.
The company also complemented the barge with 300 life vests to enhance safety of the commuters.
The Chairman of Board of Directors of AEDC Plc, Ambassador Shehu Malami, while handing over the barge and safety vests to the Kogi State Deputy Governor, Hon. Simon Achuba at a colourful ceremony at the harbour in Idah, explained that the company provided the ferryboat for use particularly by market women in the community, other commuters travelling on the river between Idah and Agenebode in Edo State, as well as between Idah and other parts of the country.
A statement issued today by the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Oyebode Fadipe, said Amb. Malami further explained that the gesture was part of the AEDC Plc’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects meant to underscore its willingness to support communities within its franchise area, which comprises Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Electricity, no doubt, is very important for human comfort and development. But of greater importance to us in AEDC Plc is the safety of people who use the electricity to power their homes, offices, industries and other cottage businesses for socio-economic development.
As a socially responsible corporate citizen therefore, AEDC Plc holds itself not just accountable for the safe use of electricity by her customers but to also contribute to the wellbeing of the customers within her franchise area”, Amb. Malami emphasized.
The AEDC Board chairman then advised the people of Idah to make optimum use of the facilities and ensure their sustainability, just as he urged them “to reciprocate our good gesture by paying their bills and protecting the power facilities in their domain”.
In his acceptance speech, the Kogi Deputy Governor, who received the items on behalf of the state government, thanked the AEDC for the donation, saying that they would enhance the safety of travelers and reduce travel time.
“Most importantly for us, this gesture by AEDC is a greater boost to the Kogi State government’s current efforts to attract investments into our state”, Hon. Achuba said, while assuring that the barge and other items would be put to judicious use, even as he said that transport fares through the ferryboat would be “highly subsidized” to make it affordable for people.
He, however, used the opportunity to warn other boat operators in the area against any acts of sabotage, saying that: “I want to warn all those who would want to thwart this effort, especially other operators who don’t want competition, that the state government will not take it lightly with them”.
In an interview with newsmen after the handing over ceremony, the Managing Director of AEDC Plc, Engr. Ernest Mupwaya, said that the company stepped in to resolve a challenge that the people living in the riverine communities of Idah had been battling with for years.
He said that AEDC would continue to add value to the people and guard the environment in all areas where it is operating.