Thursday, 4 May 2017

Ayade to sue PHEDC over Calabar viewing centre tragedy


Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has planned to take legal action against the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) over the tragedy that happened three weeks ago in Nyaghassang community in Calabar when a high tension cable fell on a viewing centre killing eight and injuring many more.

The governor who was out of the country when the unfortunate incident occurred visited the victims in the hospital as well as the community Thursday.

He promised to donate N10 million to the families of the victims and another N10 million to the community. He also promised to build a standard viewing centre for the community.

Addressing reporters after visiting the victims in the hospital, Ayade said, “Once there is a disconnect in the transmission line, the switchboard automatically cuts off power supply. Why that did not happen is totally unacceptable. The calibration with the switchboard must have been faulty and we suspect that may be tantamount to criminal negligence. And as a lawyer I am also looking at the details and working with a team to look at the way PHEDC would be made to be properly brought to book so that this would not happen again. Let this not happen again. We would be very aggressive. We are putting together a team of lawyers and consultants to actually look at the immediate and remote causes.

“I have authorized an open cheque for all the medical bills of those in the hospital. We would build a new viewing centre in the honour of those that died. We would look for an appropriate spot in the community distant from high tension cables. The plaques of the victims would be fully displayed in the viewing centre. I am donating 20 million naira. 10 million would go to the community while 10 million would go to the family of the victims.”

The governor also said one of those affected by the incident whose case was critical would be flown out of the country for treatment.

“For the young immigration officer whose situation is still critical to handle here in Calabar, I have ordered that they should urgently prepare his visas and I would liaise with the Commissioner of Health with the choice of which country to send him to for treatment. Unless we have information from Abuja that he can be treated here in the country, otherwise we have concluded arrangements to have him flown out of the country to save his life,” he said.

He expressed gratitude to Manchester United for their gesture in honouring those who died in the incident, by wearing the black armband during the last English Premier League match against Swansea, but said the state will still write the club officially to come in and do something for the victims and community.

When The Nation visited the scene of the incident, it was discovered that the cable that fell and killed eight people and injured many others was still on the ground.

The situation has left members of the community in apprehension. “I cannot understand why three weeks after that tragedy that cable is still on the ground. That is the problem with this country. Who knows when power would enter that thing again and somebody or people would go and touch it and there would be another tragedy. You know we have a lot of children playing around here. We beg them to come and repair the cable or remove it if they cannot fix it to avert further problems,” a member of the community who did not want to be named pleaded.

(The Nation)

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