A 12-year-old girl, Rejoice Ukpabi, has been electrocuted after touching a high voltage cable allegedly abandoned by the officials of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company from the Apo office in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
SaharaReporters learnt that the incident occurred on Saturday at Durumi village when the girl mistakenly touched the “stay cable” that supported the electric pole placed near their compound while washing clothes.
The mother of the deceased, Simi Okpabi, who was away in the market when the incident happened, accused the AEDC officials of being responsible for the death of her daughter.
The family also accused the top management of the company of attempting to hide the identities of its workers behind the wrong connections that led to the untimely death of the little girl.
She said the life of her daughter would not have been cut short if the officials had heeded to her entreaties and complaints on the need to replace the electric pole near her house.
She recounted how she had on several occasions complained about the dangers posed by the fallen pole with the high voltage cable that almost touched the rooftop of her house, to the AEDC Apo office but no action was taken.
She added that it took the AEDC officials several months before replacing the pole which was bought by the residents.
Narrating the sad incident further, Simi said she had a premonition before the pole was replaced that it might kill someone and she had asked the officials to relocate the pole from her house but they refused.
It was learnt that upon the completion of the work by the AEDC workers on the pole, a high tension cable was said to have touched the supporting cable which was directly behind her house.
She said, “On Saturday, I left my daughter at home and she was fine and I even asked her to do some work for me while I left for the shop. I had been complaining about the same cable that killed my daughter. It was not up to 30 minutes when she died that they disconnected the electricity.
“They came here and they were asking me nonsense questions as if I knew those people that fixed the pole. I mentioned their names as Dogo and Muritala but they claimed that they did not know them.
“The same AEDC workers that always come to share bills and collect money from us cannot be identified by those directors that came to greet me at home. They denied and said they didn’t know them.
“Even when the pole fell down, they would not do it until the people in this area contributed money to buy it. Like this one that killed my daughter, I told them not to put it close to my house again but I don’t know that as my mind was rejecting it, it would still kill my child.”
Meanwhile when SaharaReporters visited the scene of the incident, the “stay cable’ which served as a supporting cable for the pole had been disconnected but the high tension cable was only a few metres away from the rooftop of the house.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Emmanuel Emeka, said, “Rejoice was electrocuted while fetching water because of the wet floor because rain had fallen the previous day. She later moved to another side where she was washing clothes and she was electrocuted again and this time around, she was looking for something to hold but she could find none. So, she grabbed the standing cable and that was all.”
He explained that the death of the girl was avoidable if the AEDC officials had yielded to the warning and complaints of the victim’s mother.
He added that there were many wrong connections in the area that posed more threats to the lives of residents.
He continued, “We will continue to demand justice for Rejoice and those AEDC workers who made the wrong connection must be identified and brought to justice.”
It was learnt that some aggrieved residents in the area on Wednesday staged a protest at the AEDC office located at Apo to demand a thorough probe of the incident and ensure that justice was served.
The angry protesters also gave a seven-day ultimatum to the AEDC management to take responsibility for the death of the girl and correct all wrong connections posing dangers and threats to lives of the people in the community.
The protesters, who were with placards, vowed to occupy AEDC if their demands were not met at the expiration of the ultimatum.
Efforta by SaharaReporters to get the reaction of the AEDC authority at Apo office and headquarters at Wuse Zone 4, were unsuccessful as the security operatives at the gate said those that could speak on the matter were not available.