Senate blames Port Harcourt DISCO for Calabar football viewing centre tragedy



The last may not have been heard about the Calabar football viewing centre tragedy that claimed over seven lives.

The Senate yesterday put the blame of the tragedy on the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company. It accused it of gross misconduct and flagrant negligence.

The position of the Senate was informed by the reports of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission which investigated the tragedy.

The Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, which was mandated to probe the April 20  tragedy, adopted the technical reports and blamed the Port Harcourt DISCO for abandoning its duties.

The Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe-led committee concluded that it was substantially because the DISCO failed in its duties that led to the death of the football fans.

The chief Operating Officer of the Port Harcourt DISCO, Kingsley Achife, who represented the PH DISCO at an investigative hearing refused to accept responsibility for the death of the football fans.

Achife said if a makeshift viewing centre was not constructed under power lines the tragedy would have been averted.

The committee agreed that safety regulations were essentially breached by the DISCO which led to the death of the fan.

Part of the reports adopted by the committee said: “The 11kv overhead line feeding this substation is about 4.5 kilometres from the Amika injection substation and transverses over trees along the route all the way down to the Nyaghasang distribution substation.

“Branches of the ornamental trees were seen touching the line in several places.

“Several zinc roofed structures were seen constructed under this overhead line including a huge kerozine tank on raised platform.

“The 11kv power line was observed connected to the transformer through solid fuselinks instead of JP fuse assembly.

“The connections from the over head lines to the fuses were just with twisted stands of aluminium conductors and down-drops were XLPE copper cables.

“ The transformer and feeder pillar were seen earthed; Their actual earth resistances to be ascertained.

“Four uprisers were seen, two of which had the cables placed inside ebonite flexible tubing as added protection against damage.

“The feeder pillar was seen uncovered and in a dilapidated state with solid copper wires used as fuses. The rating of these copper wires cannot be ascertained.”

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