A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Snapped PHCN cable kills pregnant woman, six others in Ibadan

Ola Ajayi

26 June 2012, Sweetcrude, IBADAN—IT was a day of rage and sorrow, Tuesday, in the Apata-Ganga area of Ibadan metropolis, when a live distribution wire of the Power Holdings Company of Nigeria, PHCN, snapped and electrocuted no fewer than eight women, including a pregnant woman, to death.

Though, some of the traders claimed that seven people died, the Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Command, Mrs. Olabisi Ilobanafor, confirmed the death of five people, saying two survivors were receiving treatment at a hospital.

However, a one-year-old boy, who was strapped to his mother’s back, escape the early morning death unhurt.

One of the rescuers, an Okada rider, said they rescued the baby when they saw the mother burning. He said: “We used a stick to separate the baby from the mother. It happened around 5.50 a.m, when the wire just came down suddenly. There was no time for the victims to run.”

The victims, who were vegetable sellers, according to an eye witness, had arrived the popular Agbekoya Market as early as 5.50 a.m. to transact business, but instead death came calling. Among the victims was a nursing mother whose hair was burnt in the process.

A resident of the area, who gave his name as Sikiru Ajiboye, said there had been several reports to PHCN on the precarious state of the wire.

He said: “We don’t know what to do again. We had complaint about the wires for long. Apart from looking too fragile, they also used to cut often.”

PHCN reacts
Reacting to the incident, Principal Affairs Manager, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Mr. Jide Oyenuga, said external investigators had been engaged to ascertain the cause of the death.

A survivor, Afusat Abiade, who was rushed to Garden of Eden Hospital, said she was the first to be brought to the hospital before other dead victims were brought.

Mean time, authorities of Ibadan South-West Local Government had ordered the immediate closure of the market and declared three days mourning to sympathise with the victims’ families.

A youth leader, Mr. Wahab Bamidele, led other youths to rescue the survivors. He told newsmen that the wire snapped as a result of the rain that fell yesterday morning.

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