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DOWNPOUR IN PORT HARCOURT:Passengers escape death as 32 electric poles fall

* PHCN blames incident on excavation

By Jimitota  Onoyume

Port Harcourt – ABOUT thirty two electric poles belonging to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) fell  at the Trans Amadi area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, after a downpour on Friday.  Separate statements by the police in the state and the PHCN management yesterday said nobody suffered electrocution.

The incident happened barely one month after high tension cables fell in Port Harcourt, killing scores of people.
Meanwhile, the police in a text message from its public relations officer, Dr Mrs. Rita Inoma Abbey, confirmed that four vehicles were damaged by the fallen poles implying that the passengers of the vehicles escaped death.

On its part, the PHCN blamed the development on what it termed “sand excavation along the route by a company laying underground communication cables which weakened the bases of some of the poles, such that the poles dragged other member poles as they fell during the rainstorm.”

The statement continued, “As at the time of the incident, some of the trenches dug by the communications company were yet to be covered. Fortunately, no lives were lost in the incident.

The incident has affected power supply to Glass Factory Feeder, parts of Trans-Amadi Industrial Estate, Oginigba, Azuabie, Abuloma and parts of Woji

“This indiscriminate excavation also led to the puncturing of our underground cable by Amadi Flats Junction last week which resulted in blackout for a few days that affected Government Grafts Centre, Aba Road, Kaduna Street, Warri Street, Afam Street, Emekuku Street and Secretariat Feeder.   That particular problem was solved two days ago.”

“PHCN wishes to use this opportunity to warn all the companies excavating and laying cables including road construction companies to stay away from our network or come for adequate technical guidance before embarking on such jobs.

“We sincerely apologize to all affected customers for the inconvenience and assure them that efforts are already in place to replace the damaged poles and restore supply to them.”

When Sunday Vanguard went round the affected areas of Trans Amadi, most of the fallen poles had been removed apparently by staff of the PHCN. Also one lane of the TransAmadi road, close to the zoological garden was closed to traffic because some persons were busy stemming branches of some big trees that had grown too close to PHCN cables.

It would be recalled that about a month ago no fewer than fifty persons reportedly lost their lives in a similar incident involving high tension cables of the firm still on Trans Amadi road area when it gave way after a downpour.


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