Electrocution: Concerns over illegal connections in Abuja
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