By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE Chief Executive Officer of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Benin Distribution zone, Mr. George Chiatula, has raised an alarm over the increasing number of deaths recorded through electrocution as a result of acts of vandalization of PHCN equipment.
He lamented that apart from the instant electrocution should there be a wire cut by vandals, there was the risk of developing cancer in the long run from the radiations emitted by these lines, stressing the need for Nigerians to be safety conscious, as the management of the company was doing all it could to check the activities of vandals.
Mr. Chiatula spoke in Benin yesterday at the flagging off ceremony of the zonal public safety campaign week.
According to him, â€œas a responsible organization, we have a responsibility to look out for our customers, to inform them adequately and educate them on hazards to life, steps that ought to be taken to preserve life, at least, to the best of our abilities.â€
He traced the cause of some of the deaths resulting from the activities of vandals toÂ alleged failure of some Nigerians to follow the building laws and regulations which, according to him, are available at the Ministry of Housing.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to take note of PHCNâ€™s requirement for â€œright of way, limit of approach and these are 50meters clearance from 330kv line, 25meters on 132kv and 5meters on 11kv.
â€œLives lost to electrocution through acts of vandalism are too numerous to mention. We need to talk to our youths to desist from these dangerous acts which, apart from taking PHCN backwards in achieving set objectives, ruins and cut short young lives.
â€œIn our homes too, cases of children and adults too that are severely burnt or electrocuted in what appears to be the simple act of changing cut-outs at the meter points when supply is interrupted are too numerous to mention.â€
Also in her opening address, the chairman 2009 Safety Week and Principal Manager, Public Affairs of the PHCN, Mrs Grace Nwobodo, said the company was willing to collaborate with the Ministry of Environment to ensure that the environment was made safe in Edo State and other states in the zone.
â€œWe are also ready to maintain a strong voice in the campaign against those who reside and trade under low and high tension lines in the four states within the zone in order to save our brothers and sisters from premature deathâ€
Participants at the safety week included men of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Civil Defense Corps and staff of the company from the four states in the zone.