By evangelist.com.ng Edition, Friday July 7, 2023.
Many residents of Afaha Ube Street within Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom state, would have been electrocuted to death yesterday after low tension cables and poles fell on buildings, but for over 24 hours of power outages.
Findings revealed that the incident occurred during an early morning rainstorm which uprooted the electric poles causing cables to fall on buildings.
A nearby transformer stationed beside the Transmission Company of Nigeria(TCN) facility was also destroyed by the rainstorm.
A resident in the street, Ubokudom Akpan told newsmen yesterday that the rain started at about 4 pm cutting off the branch of a tree within the premises of the TCN station.
Akpan said the fallen branch of the tree affected low-tension cables and poles near the transformer causing them to collapse on buildings as well as preventing motorists and pedestrians from plying the road.
He explained if the incident had occurred in the daytime, it would have killed several persons in the area.
“The poles have no concrete strength as they have all expired. Even the poles which the cables that connect to the transformer have all decayed. Look at the wall that protects the transformer, it has decayed completely.
“How do you expect them to survive the windstorm? The storm was not even wild enough to pull down electric poles but because the Power Holding Electricity Distribution (PHED) facilities are not strong , it pulled them down within a short threat by the wind”, Akpan narrated.
Speaking with newsmen at the site of incident along Afaha Ube ,off Ikot Ekpene road in Uyo, a senior official of PHED at IBB Way branch , Uyo described the incident as ‘an Act of God”
While the TCN officials blamed the PHED for not cutting off or trimming trees around electric poles, PHED Operational Manager who pleaded not to be named absolved the PHED of blame.
One of the staff of Transmission station who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimization by his employers explained that it was the duty of PHED to clear all cable lines from any obstruction but they refused to do so.
” I have called PHED officials severally to come and cut down this tree to serve their cable lines from disaster but they didn’t show up till it caused this damage today.
” It is the responsibility of PHED to change weak facilities like poles, clear the power lines and replace other weak installations that may cause danger to their lines but they ignore it.
Meanwhile, a resident of Afaha Ube where the Transmission station is built, Mr Bassey Otu have complained of some anti-social activities of PHED against them.
He listed such acts by PHED against them to include outrageous bills, refusal to repair transformers and cables and inability to replace weak poles in the streets.
” Recently, PHED demanded N250,000 from us as an electricity bill.
They connived with the community to bring incredible bills. PHED can not replace weak cables.
In extreme cases, we repair transformers, and buy poles while they come to collect bills only ” He said