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CRUTECH students protest as two die, houses burnt in Calabar electrocution

From EMMA OBI, Calabar – Two persons have been reported dead and property worth millions of naira destroyed in yet another electrocution incident in Calabar, South-south Nigeria.

The incident which occurred at about 8pm yesterday threw residents of Adak Uko Street off Mbukpa Road in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State into profused mourning.

One of the victims, Mr. Itorobong Akpan, said property worth millions of naira alongside over 20 apartments were destroyed by the inferno.

According to Akpan, “This is the fifth time this year between last month and this month that this high tension cable has fallen. Yesterday, at about 8:00pm, we heard some sounds and suddenly, the cable fell off and landed on our roof. The cable is a high tension and there was a huge vibration and this lit up the whole compound. The zinc, protectors, fan were all reddish and power was still on.

“We called the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company severally and there was no answer. We called the State Fire service and there was no answer until even the Divisional Police Officer for Mbukpa went to the Fire Service and persuaded them to come and they were told that government has not given them money to repair their vehicles.

“They contacted the Federal Airport Fire Service for solace and were told that they are not coming. All these happened for over forty minutes and the power supply was still on. So that’s what happened.”

Akpan disclosed further that,“Most occupants of the building were around when this inferno occurred but the young boy who died ran out of his apartment and touched an antenna pole and got electrocuted while the lady who died owns a steel provisions store in the compound. She touched the steel housing her provision store and also got electrocuted.

“During the electrocution, I told those who were inside their apartments to remain inside and they heeded my advice and so that’s why a number of lives have been saved. It could have been worse. I was also inside my shop until the electrocution ceased,” he said.

Meanwhile, students of the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTEC) stormed the Governor’s office in Calabar, demanding that the spate of electrocution in the state should stop.

The students were led by Prince Harmony, who said he was a 100 level student of the institution.

The students said one of their colleagues, Inyang David who was a student in the department of Architecture, was one of the two persons electrocuted.

The Divisional Police Officer for Mbukpa Police Station, Peter Gomba confirmed the incident and expressed regrets that the fire service could not salvage the situation.

He commended the youths of the community for cooperating with the police to ensure that the number of causalities and incidences of looting were minimized.

The Acting Chief Executive Officer, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, Engr. Kingsley Achife has on behalf of the company commiserated with the families of those who died or lost property as a result of the incident.

Achife also assured the community that the said feeder has been isolated to ensure that lives and properties are secured, adding that an investigation team has been constituted with a view to finding out the remote causes of the accident.

He however, urged the residents to remain calm and law abiding and to accord the team the necessary support during the investigation.

He seized the opportunity to further inform members of the public and indeed the customers, to always adhere to safety rules by not erecting any structure under PHED high tension.

The management of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company had after the incident warned against transacting business under high tension lines.

It would be recalled that in April this year, eight people were electrocuted in Nyang Hassan community in Calabar while watching an English Premiership game.

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