Owode-Onirin Division of the Lagos State Police Command on Thursday, 13th of May, 2022 in conjuction with Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) and the Ikeja Electric (IE), organized a stakeholders meeting to forestall the continuous death by electrocution of residents in the communuty.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Superintendent Charles Sawyerr, while addressing the stakeholders said Owode-Onirin Division became worried about deaths by electrocution of people in the community under his jurisdiction hence, the reason for organising the stakeholders meeting.
“Our Division became worried about the incessant death by electrocution in the community and this is the core reason why the Division inconjuction with the PCRC and Ikeja Electric decide to have this stakeholders meeting, to bring in representatives, for a discussion in order to curb the frequent issues based on electrocution within our area of responsibility.
“Community Policing is about saving lives and property; the lives of people are to be saved while their properties are to be secured,” He explained.
He stated further that the ratio of deaths by electrocution became alarmingly high within a spate of four (4) months.
“In the last 4 months surprisingly, we have had four (4) deaths of young men between the ages of 25 and 49 and we discovered that these deaths could have been avoided.
“It was also discovered that to avoid paying bills, some residents decided to short-change PHCN via by-passing. We will look at what the law says on these illegal acts and even on a dead person that got electrocuted by tampering with public property,” Sawyerr said.
Mr. Adebisi Adeniyi Olatunde, PCRC chairman,Owode- Onirin Division who spoke with FASNEWSNG gave kudos to the leadership of Owode-Onirin Division for the great initiative, said the meeting was organised just between a spate of three (3) days.
“Today’s meeting was prompted by the Police leadership of Owode -Onirin Division lead by Superintendent Charles Sawyerr and the PCRC, to interact with the community to forestall the continuous death by electrocution that has taken the lives of four (4) residents, due to negligence on their part, in four (4) months. The meeting was well attended; over fifty (50) people attended with delegates from all Owode-Onirin CDAs.
“The DPO had called me to express his concern over the continuous death of the residents due to their tampering with the public electricity and asked that we find a way to sensitize them on the negligence and ignorance that is sending them to early grave by electrocution.
All I did was to send the message across all CDA platforms. By the grace of God I was CDA Chairman in this community for 10 years so I am conversant with all the platforms and I am presently a community leader and PCRC chairman.
I sent out invite from Agboyi- Ketu community down to Magidun communities. As you are aware, two Baales attended the meeting, Baale of Ajegunle and the new Baale elect of Ajewole communities attended the stakeholders meeting.” Olatunde narrated.
According to him, the meeting was to stop residents from tampering with public electricity and electrocution themselves in the process.
“Issues bothering on why residents tamper with public electricity were discussed. Ikeja Electtric (IE) under Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was invited because they are at the centre (as owners) of the product that is being tampered with.
“I said IE are the owners of electricity and all the materials because the minute you buy a pole or anything for public electricity, it automatically belongs to them, they are the professionals of what you want to use.
“Only one out of the 4 people that were electrocuted was 49-years-old, the other 3 were between the ages of 25 and 30, sadly. Two of them were electricians who were called to help fix back the wire that was brought down by IE officials. Some residents had even paid for reconnection but because they didn’t want to wait for the officials to come reconnect for them, they employ these community electricians, who are not professionals to reconnect for them. Electrician are meant to repair electrical equipment inside your house. They are to change fuse and other stuffs but not on the public electric poles. Some residents don’t want to pay their electricity bills and so they by-pass PHCN illegally, some of them shunt every night. Some residents not knowing that their lines are being tapped, will start complaining and fighting IE officials that they over bill them. All these issues are what we discussed at the meeting” He stated.
The PCRC chairman stated further that the community was enlightened about the implication of all their illegal activities.
“We were able to enlighten our people about the implication of killing oneself in the process of tampering with public property and we also talked about safety. We had a doctor, Doctor Bassey, who was on ground to teach us about CPR, how to resuscitate someone that was involved in electrocution; there was a display here to impact our knowledge on how to save someone that is still alive after electricity shock. It was an awesome enlightenment meeting.The DPO was also able to express himself on why he initiated the enlightenment meeting. This meeting was conducted to save lives.
“The people have seen and heard that police is not just to catch suspects but to also make sure that their lives and properties are secured and safe. Honestly speaking, this is one police division that is what emulating. I have not heard that any Police Division in Lagos State has put together such workshop to save lives and to enlighten communities under their watch against this kind of incidence that is happening in every community in the state. What DPO Sawyerr has done today is what is called Commuity Policing. Community policing is about making sure that lives and properties are secured,not just about arresting hoodlums. I am hoping that all Police Divisions in the country, starting from Lagos State, will emulate Owode- Onirin’ Division.
Responding to our reporter on how to extend the initiative, the PCRC chairman said “I can promise that as a community leader, all the CDAs, about 25 CDAs under Owode-Onirin, Ajegunle will take this initiative further by extending it to the CDAs in all Owode- Onirin and Ajegunle. The essence of this meeting is for people to stop tampering with public electricity, it is not our personal property and we are not PHCN staffs so we should stop shunting, just because you don’t want to pay a little amount to PHCN for reconnection.
“We will be having a general meeting this weekend and the take home for all CDA leaders is to go back to their communities to inform their people about all that have been discussed and learnt at the workshop. Meanwhile, anybody that is caught in the act of tampering with PHCN property will be arrested because it has been established that we have no right to invite any electrician to come tamper with public property and with your own life too. There is even no room for claiming ignorance because phone contacts of Ikeja Electric engineers who are in charge have been made public for our use; we are free to call them anytime we have issues and the IE representatives have dropped email addresses for communication purposes. There is a misunderstanding about IE not responding to their customers and the IE has made us all to understand that there are processes for all requests, for example, I learnt today that it takes 24-hours for reconnection after it has been pulled down from the pole because their is a process that must be followed but people don’t have that knowledge and so they start arguing and fighting with PHCN officials when they don’t immediately come to reconnect your wire.
“I have advised both our people and IE that there should communication flow; when customers call, explain in details to them how the process works and not just tell them you are coming because when you say you are coming, your customer will be expecting that you will show up in a jiffy and when you don’t show, there will be a protest. When there is communication there will not be room for misunderstanding and that we have been able to establish today,” Owode-Onirin PCRC chairman concluded.
One of the Owode-Onirin residents who does not want his name mentioned told FASNEWSNG that it was relieving to see a DPO organise a workshop to talk about saving lives.
“I am wowed by this workshop, it has given me a positive mindset about the Nigerian Police. Before now, all I know about police is they arrest. This is the first time I am seeing a policeman worried about the lives of people’s safety which has noting to do with suspects or criminals,” the resident said.
In attendance are representatives from Ikeja Electric: Engineer Tunde F. Ikeja Electric Irawo (Owode-Onirin Community) station manager, Engineer Alimi, security and safety manager, Owode- Onirin PCRC executives, Owode-Onirin market representative, Baales, representatives from all CDAs, Police Officers and Men Owode-Onirin Division and residents.