It is with a deep sense of sadness I received the news of the death of two of my constituents, Madam Patience and her grand-daughter, Adaeze.

Mrs Patience who sells fried bean cake (Akara) and yam at the popular St. Peter Clavers Junction, in Nnewichi-Nnewi, was electrocuted on Monday, 18th May, 2020, after EEDC cable wire fell on the container (makeshift shop) where she earn her daily income.

While I express my deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, I am really disturbed by the circumstance at which Madam Patience and her grand-daughter, Adaeze, died.

The death of Patience and Adaeze raises concerns over the continuous overhead distribution and transmission of electricity networks across our country and state. The electric poles on our roads and around our streets, markets, residential houses, churches and other public places are death traps.

At this stage of our development, we should start thinking of placing our power lines underground as it is done in advanced countries. While that may take a lot of time and financial resources, it is time we started a gradual implementation of this advanced method of building power lines.

Most importantly, we need to stop the erection of structures close to electric poles. We need to stop building structures and engaging in social and economic activities under electricity lines’ Right of Way.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission stipulates that for a 330KVA transmission line, a 50-metre distance split must be maintained on both sides of the lines before building structures. For a 132KVA transmission line, the distance is 30 metres. For the power distribution side, 33KVA and 11KVA lines must have on both sides distance of 11 metres. Unfortunately, we have continued to contravene the specified heights and laws.

As a people, we can’t afford to continue to subject ourselves to environmental and health hazards in our quest for economic survival and comfort. We should religiously adhere to the rules. We can’t continue to lose our people through electrocution.

It is sad that Madam and Adaeze are victims of a society that is not working. My prayers and thoughts are with the members of this family.

Hon. Nonso Smart Okafor,
Member Representing,
Nnewi North Constituency,
Anambra State House of Assembly.

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