….calls for adequate compensation of families
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA – THE Network for Electricity Consumers Advocacy of Nigeria, NECAN, Tuesday, raised the alarm over 366 Nigerians killed by electrocution in 2017, as a result of man-made factors.
This was disclosed by the National Secretary, NECAN, Uket Abonga, while appraising poor power infrastructure across the country.
According to Abonga, who described the deaths as unacceptable said from their investigations 86.8 per cent of the victims were electricity consumers, while the remaining 13.2 per cent were staff of the operating electricity companies.
He said: “The Network for Electricity Consumers Advocacy of Nigeria, NECAN, decries the high level of electricity related accidents leading to the deaths of many Nigerians and loss of property in 2017.
“About 366 Nigerians were said to have died through electrocutions and property valued at several hundreds of millions of Naira lost.
“Our findings reveal that of the 366 deaths recorded in 2017 86.8 per cent of the victims were electricity consumers, while the remaining 13.2 per cent were that of staffers of the electricity companies in the industry, this high incidence of deaths is alarming and unacceptable.
“The investigations carried out by NECAN reveal that many of the accidents that occurred in the preceding year in the sector can be attributed to man-made factors, which include inadequate knowledge, information and ignorance on the part the consumers and operators, system protection equipment failures, in some cases total absence of protection devices, poor and aging transmission network lines, aging distribution networks which used to be replaced, poor response to complaints of faulty facilities and lines by staff of the transmission and distribution companies.
“Others are non adherence to safety rules and guidelines, non enforcement of safety standard by regulatory agencies, continued existence of very poor and substandard materials, systems and distribution networks, unwillingness of the distribution companies to improve on the assets acquired.
“We therefore call on the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, NEMSA, whose mandate is to certify and ensure standardization of all equipment, devices and others in use by the industry to step up their game.”
He further stated that, “Every effort must be made by licensed operators to improve on the dilapidated and ageing systems and networks which pose danger to electricity consumers in Nigeria. Moreover, the companies whose networks have killed Nigerians must be made to pay adequate compensation to the families of the diseased.
“With the wanton loss of lives through insurgency, herdsmen killing, and others the nation cannot afford further avoidable loss of lives through electrocution.”
Meanwhile, the NECAN scribe also commended the move by the Director General, NEMSA, Engr Peter Ewosu, for carrying out inspection of electricity transmission and distribution networks across the country to detect the ones in good condition and those that are not for the safety of lives, therefore said NECAN will partner relevant government agencies for a robust enlightenment of consumers across the country.
“We hope the NEMSA boss and his team will not only detect those life threatening systems and networks but will liaise with other sister regulatory agencies to ensure that erring licensed electricity companies are sanctioned accordingly”, he said.