Monday, 28 March 2016

Soldiers pounce on PHCN staff over poor power distribution


A staff of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) has been reportedly battered by soldiers, because of poor power distribution. 


According to The Punch, the soldiers, numbering about six were from the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala Barracks, Abeokuta, Ogun state, and were led by a certain Major Musa to the IBEDC substation (Olumo business hub, Rounder) on March 6. The victim, Salau Adekunle, who is the substation’s distribution officer, was said to have been on duty on the said day and was severely beaten up with horse whips. 

It was gathered that the barracks and environs get five hours supply daily on the average, which the soldiers do not think is adequate, hence their unruly act on the staff of the power company which landed him in a hospital.

“I was on duty on that day around 12pm when the soldiers came into our office with horse whips. They told me to get up and without explanation, they started beating me. I had to go to the hospital for treatment. I informed our head office and it promised to do something about it. 

“They had come earlier then to threaten us. We reported at our head office and the head of the barracks was petitioned. They complained that they did not get supply regularly, but it is not our fault. They said they would be the ones to determine the number of hours they want power. We told them it was not possible, but they didn’t want to listen,” Adekunle narrated. 

Speaking also on the incident, the victim’s colleague who preferred anonymity, explained that they had informed the soldiers that the recent drop was due to a reduction in the power generation nationwide, but their entreaties apparently fell on deaf ears. 

According to him: “Electricity supply is divided into three levels – generation, transmission and distribution. This implies that generation affects transmission, which in turn affects distribution. The relationship between them is directly proportional. 

“If there is less sufficient generated power, then there will be less power at our own side to distribute to the community, including the barracks. Before now, there was supply for at least eight hours and at times, 15 hours.

Electricity generation has reduced from 4517MW to 2800MW and now to over 1500MW. All this is known and understood by the soldiers in the barracks, but they pretend as if they do not know; that is why they now get five hours’ supply per day. Initially, the soldiers blamed us. Soon, it graduated to threats. They once arrested us and took us to their barracks and detained us for hours; l was a victim.” 

And the fear which has gripped the staff of the company since the incident has been unprecedented as epitomised by another official who said: “They (the soldiers) said it would not be threats again, but killing. Major Musa said he would send soldiers we don’t know. We spoke out because we cannot wait for them to kill us.” 

The spokesperson of the brigade could not be reached for his comment, but a soldier attached to the brigade confirmed the attack via a telephone conversation. 

“I am aware of it (the attack), but I was not around when it happened. Power supply is not regular in the barracks. We used to have power for eight to 10 hours,” he stated. 

Major Musa, on his part, refuted the claims made against him, adding that “All the information is false. You can come to the barracks to get the correct information.” 

Source- The punch

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