The family of a Lagos churchgoer Veronica Oboh, who was electrocuted by a high tension wire that fell off a power pole in the Ijaiye area of Agege Local Government, has blamed the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company for negligence.
According to Punch Metro, the family noted that the tragedy would have been averted if the firm’s officials had quickly attended to the fallen wire.
The deceased was on her way to attend a church service before she stepped on the exposed wire, which instantly electrocuted her.
An eyewitness, Femi Afolabi, who said the wire fell the day before the incident, stated that he was on his way into the Ijaiye Housing Estate when he observed that people were gathered at the junction and lamenting the fate of the deceased.
The 48-year-old Lagos State indigene said:
“When the wire fell off the pole around 9pm, people who usually sell around there ran for safety. I was on my way into the estate around 5:30pm the next day when I saw that people were gathered at the junction of the estate.
“When I moved closer to see what had happened, I saw that a woman, who had been electrocuted by the wire that fell, was lying on the floor; she reportedly stepped on the wire because she could not see properly as there was a power outage. I saw a torchlight beside her body but I wasn’t too sure of her identity.
“So, when officers from the Pen Cinema Police Station took away her remains, I had to visit the station to confirm and it was through an identification card that I knew that Oboh was the person that was electrocuted. I was the one who gave the police her elder brother’s number; but the most painful aspect was that despite the fact that Ikeja Electric was aware of the incident, it was on the third day that its officials came to fix the fallen wire.”
The brother of the deceased, who asked not to be named, blamed IE for Oboh’s death, adding that if the company had fixed the fallen wire when it was alerted to it, the deceased would not have stepped on it.
“This incident was due to IE’s negligence and irresponsibility. It is bad that when they were alerted to the fact that a high tension wire had fallen, nothing was done for nine hours until it killed Oboh. Even when I went back to the scene of the incident around 12:30pm to take photos, nothing had been done. IE can’t say they don’t know that the high tension wire fell.
“This kind of incident will always reoccur except it is reported and escalated so that the officials on duty can be properly sanctioned. She got electrocuted on her way to attend the Winners’ Covenant Hours of Worship around 5:30am. So, when the Divisional Police Officer of the police station called me to identify the body, I was told that the wire had fallen around 9pm the night before the incident and that all attempts to reach Ikeja Electric to solve the situation failed.”
The elder sister to the deceased, Regina Egege, said her late sister’s pastor, who had commiserated with the family, had also delegated members of the church to sympathise with the family over the loss.
“When my aunt and cousin came back from the hospital, I was told to come outside because they wanted to see me. When I got outside, one of them said: ‘It is well, something has happened’, I immediately asked what happened and I was told that my sister, Oboh, was dead. I jumped up, but the two of them held me and consoled me. The pastor of her church spoke to me on the phone and also delegated three of his members to sympathise with the family,” Egege added.
A trader, Kudirat Lawal, who sells goods close to the scene of the incident, told PUNCH Metro that people thought she was the one who died, adding that the high tension wire that killed Veronica had been sparking on the pole for about six months.
“When people heard that it was a woman who died, they thought I was the one, because where I do trade is located in the area where the wire killed the woman. This wire had been sparking on the pole for about six months; whenever it sparked, people would run away. The IE was aware of it but they refused to fix it until it fell and killed someone,” Lawal said.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, said Oboh’s death was sudden and unnatural as she got electrocuted.
“It was a case of sudden and unnatural death by electrocution. The woman was on her way to attend a church service around 5:30am but did not see the wire on the floor. She stepped on the wire, got electrocuted and died on the spot. The police took the corpse and deposited it in the mortuary,” Oti stated.
The Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue, commiserated with the deceased’s family, adding that investigation into the incident was ongoing.
“We are aware of the incident. We commiserate with the family of the deceased and we are currently investigating to find out the cause,” Ofulue said.