Conflict arising from Electricity Supply to the Koluama 1 community

Conflict arising from Electricity Supply to the Koluama 1 community

By / Impact Stories / Friday, 25 October 2019 16:37

Koluma 1 is a community located in the oceanic riverine community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The people are Ijaw of the speaking ethic group and are predominantly into fishing and trading to boost their standard of living and support their families. The community is also an oil and gas producing community, host to Chevron/NNPC joint venture and also member of the GMOU operated by Keffes Rural Development Foundation (KRDF).  The community has different structures in place such as the council of chief comprising of elders, and a community of Royal Highnesses, others are, Community Development Committee (CDC), Woman Association and Youth group association. With the introduction of the Sustainability and Conflict Prevention Project in Bayelsa 

State, and the building of the capacity of selected community participants on conflict transformation methodologies and early warning, the project was set to take off in earnest. But to make participation representational, a total of 10 community persons drawn from the 5 ruling houses in Koluama 1, representatives of the Community Development Committee (CDC), Women, Youths, and the Chief were trained on understanding the intricacies of conflict management, conflict resolution and conflict transformation, conflict prevention, Conflict Sensitivity and Peace building, action planning and steps towards achievement of intervention impact.

Success Story Title:

Conflict arising from Electricity Supply to the community

The Story

In 2010, Chevron donated an electricity generating plant to Koluama 1 Community as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes. According to Mr Raphael Golubo, a budding artist based in the community, “when we use to have light, the community was so nice to stay. You don’t even want to travel out, but now the place is very dull, nothing to enjoy in the community and the cost of fuel is so high”

 

For the past 5 months, Koluam 1 community has not had light from the community generating plant. This was attributed to the inability of community light committee to provide Diesel to power the plant. This has brought untold hardship to the small businesses that use to depend on the community light to make a living. Because of the location of the community, the absence of light meant that community business men had to depend on personal generating sets to carry out any business. This has seriously affected business live in the community. The situation was gradually causing some accusations and stirring up potentials conflict issues in the community.  

  • There are insinuations within the community that KEFFES, the Development Agency set up to carry out development activities has been misusing the funds budgeted to buy diesel for generating light.
  • There have also been some counter accusations about some individuals ‘capturing’ the benefits due the community. For some months, the tension was palpable and could have exploded into a community conflict. 
  • And also open confrontation accusing the community light committee of embezzlement  of funds meant for the fuelling and maintenance of the community generation

However, after the training and inauguration of the Community coping Mechanism (CCM) held on the 25th of January 2019, and facilitated by Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development (CIEPD), funded by Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND), the CCM identified several conflict situations in the community. After ranking such conflict incidences, the group decided to work on three core community conflict issues. They were;

  • Leadership tussle in the Koluama 1 Youth Association
  • Open conflict between a Cult Group and the Community Youths
  • Conflict arising from Electricity Supply to the community.

 To this end, the group identified “The lack of Electricity Supply in the community” as problem that requires an urgent attention.

Intervention

In order to take action, the CCM after the training visited and engaged some of the community stakeholders that can influence action and intervention and ensure that the community generator is functional and electricity is restored to the community. The group engaged the following;

1. The CDC chairman

2. Community light committee members

3. Oil and gas chairman

Findings during Engagement

During the process of engagement with some community stakeholders, the group inquired to know especially from the community light committee members, the main cause of the absence of light experienced in the community, it was revealed that;

  • The cost of diesel has gone up
  • Lack of frequent availability of diesel
  • Fund received to purchase diesel to power the generator is not sufficient due to high cost and scarcity of the product in the LGA.

The group went further to engaged the Chairman of the CDC who promised to look into the issue and take action. After the meeting with the community light committee, members promised to improve on the supply of diesel so that every members of the community can benefit. Within the same period, March and April 2019, the CCM engaged the oil and gas chairman on how to improve the light situation in the community especially in the area of prompt supply. Other consultations were carried out by the group and after constant reminders and engagement, the issue was resolved and the community has been enjoying light since then. Consultations are still on going to ensure the supply of light is sustained during the coming weeks.

The last time CIEPD team was in the community during the engagement and mentoring session with the Kokuama 1 Community Coping Mechanism, it observed that electricity has been restored and the community was enjoying the light from 6pm to 6am each day.

Testimony by the Chairman of Kokuama 1 Community Development Committee (CDC) and Some Community Members

On our way to the first mentoring session in Koluama 1, the CIEPD project team met with the chairman of the CDC, Chief Alapu Okpulu who had come to see the team off to the community, he said, “… you guys are doing a good job, within the short time you have been here, the boys are doing so much to resolve the conflict issues in the community. “… they call every time seeking for advice or permission to do one thing or the other.  “Thank you very much, you have our support”

 Mr RobertsonSocial life and business are beginning to return to the community and there are attempts to reconcile those who had issues due to the absence of light. While Mr Robertson Michael has gone back to his indomie and fast food business and can cool his drinks for his costumers

 

 

 

Ms WokenighentimeMs Wokenighentime James said, “now I don’t have to travel to Yenagoa before I can make my hair” So far, most community people are happy that light has returned to the community.

 

 

 

 

Picture of the Koluama 1 Community Generators

Koluama 1 Community Generators

Kokuama 1 Generator House

Koluama2    Koluama3

 

Koluama4

View of Power on of one of the generator in two Kokuama 1

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Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development (CIEPD)

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