In a statement made available to our news desk, and signed by Oyebode Fadipe, the GM, Communication, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, the management denied any culpablility in the death of Ekene Ezeh, a 14 year old resident of Abaji, a satellite town of the Federal Capital Territory, who died of electrocution.
In the statement, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, while commiserating with the family of the decased, explained that the circumstances surrounding the death clearly points against their culpability, and that the company cannot be help responsible.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT
We are constrained to react to the story of the death of a 14year – Ekene Ezeh old boy published in the Monday 13th April, 2020 edition of Daily Trust wherein it was said that the deceased died as a result of electrocution.
From the content of the report and facts available to us, the publication is hasty, misleading and intended to serve certain end. We therefore deny vehemently the subliminal message of culpability and seek that your highly respected medium will give voice to our position as has been given to the story that has given rise to it in the first instance.
As a Company, we are candidly surprised that an event of such magnitude did not come to the attention of any of our officials 96hrs after its alleged occurrence. The question that has not been answered however is: is every death as a result of electrocution attributable to electricity from public power supply managed by AEDC?
From our preliminary investigations, the following facts, which were not reflected in the story point to the fact that the death of the deceased was not as a result of electricity from public power supply.
- There was no power supply from AEDC as at the time (2:00pm) the boy was said to have slumped.
- The responsibility to manage power supply in the house or office/shop of the customer lies with him. AEDC’s responsibility stops at the meter point of the customer. Even the father of the deceased said he suspected that the cause of death was as a result of electric shock from a naked wire “that passed through zinc in a kiosk close to where he works”.
- The period of the incident was during the lockdown thus all the shops including the place where the incident was alleged to have occurred were locked up.
- The deceased had just returned from his village where he had gone to receive treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
- The incident was neither reported at AEDC office nor the police station in Abaji after it happened.
- The changeover switch of the generator where the boy allegedly stood when he foamed from the mouth was on the generator and not on public power supply thereby raising questions about the source of the electricity that allegedly killed the boy.
- The deceased was playing with three other boys of his age at the scene of the incident when he slumped. It was his friends who rushed to his father to inform him that his son had slumped. If this was a case of electrocution, at least one of the three other boys with whom he was playing ought to have received electric shock or even electrocution.
- If truly the father of the deceased received electric shock as he claimed he did when he went to rescue his son, he too would have either been trapped since the voltage level was one that could kill the son or flung away from the boy having received electric shock from him. If the claim of The father of the deceased that he also received shock from the deceased when he attempted to rescue him are true, then there are 2 possibilities in such a situation. (i) In the event that the boy was electrocuted from public power supply, the same voltage that killed the boy would have flung the father away or killed him. (ii). The boy did not die as a result of electricity”9. There is no medical report to show that death was secondary to electrocution.
- There is nothing in the report that shows that the journalist spoke to any other person such as eye witnesses except the father of the deceased.
- Several persons who were interviewed by our team of investigators expressed shock that the death of the boy was attributed to electricity.
From the totality of the forgoing facts, we consider the story to be hasty in our view. It is not all death arising from electrocution that is caused by the conduct of the manager of power supply from public. The negligent conduct of the service user can also be a source of such fatality. The unfortunate case of Ekene Ezeh falls into that category or may have been as a fallout of his ailment for which he was taken to his village for treatment.
We therefore urge that you give our rejoinder the same publicity as has been given to the story that gave rise to it.
GM, Corporate Communications