By Ike Uchechukwu
CALABAR—Tragedy struck, yesterday, when a 28-year-old Bureau De Change operator, Mallam Suleman Zakari, was electrocuted in Calabar, when he stepped on a high tension cable while attempting to put out a fire caused by power surge.
Vanguard learned that Zakari, an indigene of Kano State, who runs a bureau de change at Bogobiri, was electrocuted when a high tension cable fell in front of his house on Barracks Road, at 6a.m., yesterday.
An eyewitness, Ibrahim Hasan, told Vanguard that there was a spark at about 4a.m., but power was cut off and later restored.
He said: “We heard a large sound at about 4a.m., yesterday. When we rushed out, we discovered that it was the transformer. So there was power outage minutes later. Surprisingly, around 6a.m., it was restored and that was when the cable fell and caused a fire.”
“People were shouting ‘fire,’ ‘fire.’ Suleman rushed out with a bucket of water mixed with detergent to put it out. Unknown to him, there was a live high tension wire in front of his door step, which he stepped on. The rest is history.”
The deceased’s elder brother, Nuhu Zakari, said Suleman’s widow, who is nursing a three-month-old baby, was still in shock and that they got married about a year ago.
His words: “I feel very sad about my younger brother’s death. It came as a horrible surprise to us all. His wife is still breastfeeding; their baby boy is just three months old while their marriage is just about one year.”
Also speaking, Sarki Salisu Abba Lawan, Leader Hausa/Fulani & Muslim Community in Cross River State, said it was high time government devised advanced technology in the power sector.
He said: “The last time I saw the victim was at last Friday’s Jumaat service. I was shocked when I got a report that he has been electrocuted because a high tension wire fell; it is so sad, but we surrender to the will of Allah.
“Government, as matter of urgency, must upgrade our electrification system to something better and more efficient. “The high tension cables are sub-standard and vulnerable; they fail once there is power surge.”