June 21, 2024

Ifo northern community angry over IBEDC’s distorted narrative on electrocution of Hausa man, demands N15 Million compensation

Oredola Adeola

The Hausa community in Ifo, Ogun State, is in uproar following the untimely death of Mr. Aliu Guda, who was fatally electrocuted by a low voltage wire belonging to the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) Joju business unit Sango.

The situation has been further exacerbated as the Hausa Community have expressed outrage over IBEDC’s attempt to falsely allege the deceased of cable theft, despite the company’s negligence. They are therefore demanding justice and a substantial N15 million compensation for the family of Late Guda.

EnergyDay’s correspondent, after investigating the incident, uncovered that the unfortunate death of Aliu Guda happened on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

The investigation showed that Guda was fatally electrocuted after coming into contact with a low-voltage wire that had fallen three days earlier on the Olomu community road when he was packing sand into a truck.

Community members told our correspondent that they had previously alerted Mr. Odetola, the IBEDC marketer, and the Business Manager of Joju Business Unit, about the need to fix the faulty cable. They confirmed that the management of the DisCo failed to take action until after the tragic incident occurred.

The community emphasized the criminal negligence of IBEDC’s staffers at the Ifo undertaken office and business unit office at Joju, Sango, Ogun State.

A whistleblower, Mr. Abraham, who recounted his conversation with Mr. Odetola, the DisCo marketer in charge of the community, informed EnergyDay that IBEDC was deliberately unconcerned about the dangerous wire.

He claimed that Mr. Odetola was informed about the live wire that disconnected from the pole, via WhatsApp chat two days before the incident, adding that no action was taken by the IBEDC Joju Business Unit office.

He stated that even after reporting the fault via WhatsApp chat with Odetola, he proceeded to the IBEDC Joju Business Unit office on the first and second day before the incident happened.

According to him, despite multiple attempts to alert the authorities, no one from the IBEDC team arrived at the scene until after the tragic incident.

In light of this negligence and failure to act on the complaint, Mr. Abraham called for the arrest of Mr. Odetola. He demanded justice for the victim, Mr. Guda, and an explanation for the inaction of the IBEDC team.

Seriki of Ifo, also confirmed to EnergyDay that the phone number of the marketer was called about the fault before the incident happened and even after the incident, but it was not reachable.

He said, “We later contacted both the marketer and branch manager on call and WhatsApp, the messages went through promised to take steps on it but failed to do anything on it till the next day when Mallam Guda was going about his normal business as tipper motor boy was electrocuted while he was packing sands into his master’s tipper oblivious of the presence of live wire on the heap of sand.

“As the incident happened, we contacted the IBEDC Joju business unit Sango. We also reached out to Odetola who still failed to come around the community to verify the damage done as well as to put off the light and cut off the fell wire from the power source.

“It took the bravery of one of the community youth, to go into the feeder pillar to remove the fuse to that particular area fell wire served before the dead body can be evacuated for burial according to his faith as a Muslim,” the Seriki said.

EnergyDay gathered that on Monday, October 30, 2023, following the burial of a victim, the Arewa community, along with the victim’s relatives and families, embarked on a protest in the Joju business district of IBEDC to express their outrage over the death and negligence of Aliu.

The All-Electricity Consumer Protection Forum has condemned the IBEDC for their callous and retrogressive behavior towards the family of Mr. Guda.

Mr.  Adeola Ilori, National Coordinator of the forum, in a letter dated November 13, 2023, and addressed to the Managing Director, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, expressed concern over the lack of empathy shown by the organization towards the family of the deceased.

According to him, Mr. Guda lost his life due to the criminal negligence of IBEDC’s staffers and manager, who failed to visit the family or offer condolences.

He said, “It’s quite worrisome to us to know that an organization that prides itself as responsible to its staffers and prosecutes any misdemeanors against them by consumers can be this indifferent to an action of their staffers that led to the cutting short of the life of Mr. Guda a family man with a pregnant woman without showing empathy beyond Mr. Famwkinde visit to the locus incur as well as meeting the Arewa representative and later turn down their calls whenever call made to ask how far with the company responsibility.

“The heavily pregnant wife of the deceased and their three children have been left behind, and the organization has not taken any steps to address their welfare.

“We were further informed that the wife of the deceased is heavily pregnant as at the death of her husband and her delivery date is due 20-25th of November 2023 she has since been sent to their country home in the north because of the trauma with his other three children left behind.

The forum demands that the IBEDC management make a physical condolence visit to the family of Mr. Guda and compensate them adequately.

It also demanded that “The IBEDC must also ensure that the field men involved in the incident are brought to book by handing them over to the police for proper investigation.

“That your management starts a true compensation move to adequately compensate the family which will be routed through our office as the intervenor for the family and to see that not only promised to be down but must be seen to have been done.

“Even though no amount will be enough to bring back the soul of the lost one, such insulting and insensitive attitude as displayed by Mr. Famakinde from Joju Business unit, Sango of your organization will not be accepted.

“That your organization sees that all the field men involved in the act of 25th October 2023 be brought to book by handing them over to the police for proper investigation in their criminal negligence Act.

“Failure to meet these demands within 48 hours will result in the forum informing the relevant authorities in the power sector, the hierarchy of Nigeria Police, the media, and fellow Nigerians.

“While no amount of compensation can bring back the lost soul, the forum will not accept the insensitive attitude displayed by IBEDC’s staffers and manager” Ilori warned in the letter addressed to the IBEDC on the matter.

Despite the expiration of the ultimatum by the Consumer Forum, EnergyDay gathered that the IBEDC has failed to reach out to the family of the deceased and paid a condolence visit to the family.

In a conversation with EnergyDay,  Busola Tunwase, Head Media of Relations, IBEDC, expressed deep condolences to the family of the deceased and assured that IBEDC has initiated investigations to ascertain the facts surrounding the incident.

She requested time for the DisCo to conduct a thorough investigation and provide a response to the correspondent.

Busola in a follow-up conversation by EnergyDay two days, after the first message was sent to her also, told our correspondent that the investigation is still ongoing.

According to her, “We have paid a condolence visit to the Hausa community, in line with the stipulations of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) which require thorough investigations to be carried out.

The Seriki Hause of Ifo who later reached out to EnergyDay, accused the management of IBEDC of employing divide-and-rule tactics in their engagement with the Arewa community over the tragic incident.

According to him, the IBEDC later met the Chairman of the Arewa Community and one Babangida, without involving him, which has raised concerns about potential division within the community.

Furthermore, the Seriki criticized IBEDC for not paying a condolence visit to the family of a deceased individual and for allegedly falsely claiming that the deceased was involved in cable theft.

The Seriki, also confirmed that the management, led by Engineer Abiodun, later visited his office on November 28, 2023, to pay a condolence visit and assured him of taking appropriate actions.

He cautioned the visiting team to conduct a proper investigation before concluding and urged the management to compensate the deceased’s family and dismiss the negligent officers.