Elec­tro­cu­tion: Con­cerns over il­le­gal con­nec­tions in Abuja

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Si­mon Echewo­fun Sun­day

Are­cent elec­tri­cal ac­ci­dent in Lugbe, Abuja led to the death of three per­sons while some five oth­ers were in­jured. The Daily Trust re­porter which vis­ited the Ang­wan Tiv -Tudun Wada area, ag­gre­gated the views of the res­i­dents.

Yo­hanna Peter, a 23 year old youth in the area said one of the trans­form­ers had a spark and its con­duc­tor went up in flames. He said the power surge that lasted for over 10 min­utes caused the elec­tro­cu­tion and in­juries ran­domly at some of the house­holds

“When the spark hap­pened, some per­sons who were try­ing to switch off their ap­pli­ances were elec­tro­cuted.

“A child and some other youth sus­tained in­juries from the burns in their houses be­cause some ca­bles that could not with­stand the pres­sure in the houses gave way,” he said.

How­ever, while the in­ci­dent may be deemed ac­ci­den­tal, it raises fresh con­cerns over il­le­gal con­nec­tions that spread across the var­i­ous elec­tric­ity Dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies (Dis­cos) in Nige­ria. Most of such con­nec­tions in the Tudun Wada com­mu­nity were said to have been done by none staff of the Abuja Elec­tric­ity Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany (AEDC).

Mr. Mon­day Abu, a res­i­dent near the com­mu­nity mar­ket dis­closed that there are elec­tri­cians in the area who can be called eas­ily to do the con­nec­tions. “Those peo­ple are not AEDC staff but they claim to be fa­mil­iar with the staff and they work on elec­tric­ity sup­ply for many house­holds here,” he said.

Al­though Mr. Abu frowned at the sit­u­a­tion, he blamed the AEDC for still bring­ing the es­ti­mated bills to the com­mu­nity that has il­le­gal con­nec­tion with­out dis­con­nect­ing it.

Our re­porter ob­served that the pop­u­lated Tudun Wada com­mu­nity with over 5,000 res­i­dents has poor elec­tri­cal in­fra­struc­tures even when it is less than two kilo­me­tres from the Fed­eral Hous­ing Author­ity (FHA) es­tates that has bet­ter elec­tric­ity in­fra­struc­tures.

Most of the house­holds con­nected il­le­gally to the grid are us­ing poor qual­ity ca­bles while a large chunk of the set­tle­ment, in­clud­ing a mini-mar­ket, sprawls across the dou­ble 330KV/132KV trans­mis­sion lines con­duct­ing power from the Geregu Na­tional In­te­grated Power Project (NIPP) power sta­tion in Ajaokuta, Kogi State, through the Gwag­wal­ada trans­mis­sion sub­sta­tion, some kilo­me­tres away.

A res­i­dent, Bala Ahmed who trades on daily pro­vi­sions near the mar­ket said the orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants were com­pen­sated by the Trans­mis­sion Com­pany of Nige­ria (TCN) and the NIPP han­dlers be­fore the tow­ers were erected but many still choose to build houses un­der the high ten­sion rather than va­cat­ing the place.

Mr Peter Ukoh, who had lived there for nine years, said that in­dis­crim­i­nate erect­ing of houses in the place al­most made ac­cess roads to the area im­pos­si­ble as built slum houses could be bought at af­ford­able price.

“Worst still, AEDC feeds power to the house­holds and gen­er­ates bills for the cus­tomers with­out clean­ing up the net­work com­pris­ing poor ca­bles and il­le­gal con­nec­tions,” he lamented.

At one of the trans­mis­sion tow­ers, our re­porter saw welders and car­pen­ters do­ing busi­ness with­out the slight­est fear of be­ing elec­tro­cuted. When asked, one of the welders said the tower was not en­er­gised and, there­fore, it poses no risk.

Mr Sunny Adu, another res­i­dent, nar­rated how the ac­ci­dent hap­pened. “Three per­sons, in­clud­ing a 22-year-old boy, Joseph Terver, died while over five oth­ers sus­tained se­ri­ous burns,” Adu said.

Most of the sur­vivors said they footed their med­i­cal bills. “I have been bear­ing the bills for my son and wife since it hap­pened last week,” Haruna, whose wife and child were af­fected, said.

“But AEDC has met with us, col­lected our data and said they will re­fund the cost to us,” he added.

The Act­ing Chair­man of the Nige­rian

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