Chineme Okafor in Abuja
To ease movement of market women and their goods, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has handed over a 46-ton ferryboat worth approximately N8 million to the people of Idah community in Kogi State.
The Discos disclosed in a statement from its head of corporate communications, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, at the weekend in Abuja, that it provided the ferryboat for use particularly by market women in the community, and other commuters travelling across the River Niger between Idah and Agenebode in Edo State, as well as between Idah and other parts of the country.
It noted that about 300 life vests were also donated alongside the ferryboat to enhance safety of the commuters as they travel in it.
According to the statement, the Chairman of Board of Directors of the Disco, Mr. Shehu Malami, handed over the barge and safety vests to the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Simon Achuba, at the harbour in Idah.
Malami further explained that the gesture was part of the Discosâ€™ corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, and that it was 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).
â€œElectricity, 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,â€Malami was quoted to have said in the statement.
He also advised the people of Idah to make optimum use of the facilities and ensure their sustainability, and urged them to reciprocate the Discosâ€™ good gesture by paying their bills and protecting power facilities in their domain.
The statement also had Achuba say in his acceptance speech that they would enhance the safety of travelers and reduce travel time in the beneficiary community.
He added that the barge and other items would be put to judicious use, and the transport fares through the ferryboat would be highly subsidised to make it affordable for the people.
The deputy governor also warned other boat operators in the area against any acts of sabotage, saying: â€œI want to warn all those who would want to thwart this effort, especially other operators who donâ€™t want competition, that the state government will not take it lightly with them.â€