Residents of Soluyi in the Gbagada area of Lagos State have expressed fear over the imminent danger posed by high-tension wires abandoned in a canal in the community.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the wires fell about two weeks ago after a rainfall and the Ikeja Electric was alerted immediately.
It was said that some officials of the company inspected the damage the following day, but had yet to return to fix the wires. About 50 streets in Soluyi I and II were reportedly affected.
Our correspondent, who visited the community on Tuesday, observed that the canal is covered by water and grasses. While two of the wires lay on the grasses, one of the wires had, however, been buried in the canal.
It was also observed that the fallen wires were in the middle of two adjacent buildings.
It was gathered that the wires had sagged for several years, while efforts to find a lasting solution to the issue had proved abortive.
Some residents, who spoke with PUNCH Metro, said the wires fall frequently, adding that any time the wires fall, the officials would fix them haphazardly and restore electricity.
A resident, Stephen Orji, who lives on Adetoun Adebayo Street, urged the IE to erect more polls to raise the wires to avert a calamity.
He said, “I have been living here for 18 years. We started having this problem in 2003 when our power supply was connected to Ogudu. The transmission used to be from Gbagada. Each time it rains, the wires spark and destroy things. Two weeks ago, it rained heavily and the wires fell, causing a blackout.
“Now, the wires are lying in the canal. We are pleading that the company should come and reconnect the wires. The danger is that if one’s foot mistakenly touches the water in the canal area when there is electricity, one may be electrocuted.”
A landlord, Chima Anyau, lamented that frequent high-tension wire fall had led to poor power supply in the community, adding that the service rendered by the Ikeja Electric was not commensurate with its high monthly bills.
He said, “For almost two weeks now, there has been no electricity. Whenever it rains, the high-tension wires will fall into the canal and the power would be switched off. What we need is a permanent solution. We are not enjoying electricity, but we pay heavily.
“The fallen wires signify danger. They can kill if electricity is suddenly restored. We have informed the IE; the officials promised to fix it, but they have not come.”
The Chairman, Electricity Committee of the community, Mr. Fernadez Abilawon, said he sent text messages to the IE Business Manager, identified simply as Babasanya, complaining about the situation. He added that the manager promised to resolve the issue without giving a specific date.
The response of the manager, sighted by our correspondent read, “Message received. Please bear with us. All the issues will soon be resolved. Regards.”
The Baale of Soluyi II, High Chief Solomon Olamiju, said it was necessary to raise the wires and apply appropriate tension on them to avert a tragedy.
Olamiju said, “We have complained times without number, even before the privatisation. The situation now is dangerous. The high-tension wires have fallen into the canal. If the high-tension is energised now, it can cause electrocution that will affect many people because water is a good conductor of electricity.
“The canal links to a lagoon channel in the Owonronshoki side. So, anybody on the lagoon is not safe. That is why there is a need to urgently address the situation and ensure that the correct number of polls is erected to lift the fallen and saggy high-tension wires.
“We have been exercising patience for a long time. No fewer than 50 streets are affected and we don’t want people to react negatively.”
The spokesperson for the IE, Mr. Felix Ofulue, said the volatility of the canal was inhibiting efforts to reconnect the wires, promising that the company would find a lasting solution to the problem.
He said, “The challenge with that place is that it is dangerous. That is why we have not come to fix the wires. But it will be sorted out this week. We will collaborate with the community to get some people to pull the wires so we can string them.
“By Wednesday (today), our men will return to the community. We won’t allow the wires to fall again because they are causing a lot of issues. We will fix everything.”