By Ike Uchechukwu
CALABAR—One Mr. Joseph, whose wedding had been scheduled for this month, was, yesterday morning, electrocuted, while two others were injured and several houses burnt with property worth millions of naira, including cash, destroyed, when a high tension electric cable fell in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
Vanguard learned that the incident, which started at about 7:30a.m. from No. 17, Umo Orok Lane in Calabar South, and spread to No. 22 of same lane, affected no fewer than six houses.
It was gathered that N580,000 cash was burnt to ashes.
An eyewitness, Uwem Francis, told Vanguard that when his wife came out to open her shop in the early hours of the day, she noticed that there was a spark from one of the conductors on the high tension, which stopped when there was power cut.
According to Francis, “at about 7:30a.m., power was restored and the spark continued. The voltage was really high because; my stabiliser could not supply light to the fridge as it was above 220 Watts.
“So I unplugged my refrigerator and plugged it directly. Before we knew it, the small transformer near my wife’s shop blew up and wire fell, while current started flowing through everything that had life in that vicinity.
“I was confused whether to enter the house and pick my kids or run to my wife’s shop. But I and another neighbour quickly removed the fuse from the meter.
“Our own line went off but other compound didn’t know that it was from the high tension, so their building was engulfed by current from the high tension.
“While Joseph, who was popularly known as Man of God, tried to unplug electronics in his house, he was electrocuted. Taken to three different hospitals, he was rejected and died in the process.
“If you had come in a bit earlier, you would have met his corpse. His wife to-be and some people just took his body to Akwa Ibom.
“His wedding was scheduled this January, and the lady came around because they have been planning; but now he is no more.”
What would’ve happened to my children?—Survivor
A mother of three, Ms Patience Joseph, who narrowly escaped death, told Vanguard that she didn’t even know what happened, but discovered that people were shouting and as she tried to run out the wire fell on her, cutting her ankle.
Her words: “I am in great pain, but I am glad I survived. I am glad I made it; I learned that “Man of God died, but I am happy to be alive.
“I feel pain all over my body because the wire threw me on the ground. I am a single mother of three; who would have taken care of my children? I sell plantain and chips to train them. So I bless God for another chance.”
Another victim, Mr. Effiom Edem Cobham, told Vanguard that he has lost everything in the incident, including N580,000 that was given to him late Saturday night to pay his co-workers.”
No visit has been made by any official of government or Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, at press time.