On the 16th day of April 2020, Emmanuel Ijeneme on his way to church was dragged by two high-tension networks and he was electrocuted. He consequently suffered severe burn wounds and lost his hands and feet as a result of the incident. Through a good Samaritan Mr. Timothy Orukpe, he approached FOI Counsel, a research, development, and legal aid Centre in Benin City.
We were briefed on the case and the action was taken out by the mother of the victim. During our client’s counseling section, it was revealed that one of the biggest electricity distribution companies in Nigeria was negligent in their maintenance of electricity poles (the pole was not firmly supported with jumper spindle and pins insulators). The poorly constructed line jumper fell upon a stay wire, thereby inducting the double (H-Pole) concrete poles. The worst part is that the tripping unit in the Injection Sub-Station of the control room of the electricity distribution company was not functioning. Irritatingly, there was no fault detector or circuit breakers as at the time of the incident.
FOI Counsel commissioned an expert, Engr. Paul Idehen to give possible immediate and remote causes of the incident. The report shows that the electrocution incident was caused by lack of standard and due diligence for the construction of the High Tension Electrical Network. The report also shows that the electricity distribution company hung a wire on a concrete pole without insulation and it induced the two poles with the very high current which attracted Mr. Emmanuel Ijeneme and injured him.
One of the reliefs we sought before the court is that the distribution Company owes Mr. Emmanuel a duty of care to inspect and maintain improper grounding of wires, fallen cables, or insulated high-tension lines amongst other electrical services and ensure that they are in a safe condition and do not cause electrical shock, thermal burns, and associated injuries. We also sought damages to the tune of Two Hundred Million Naira Only.
The distribution company hired a very brilliant senior lawyer who after filing his sturdy defence fused on the accident, advised his client for out-of-court settlement without admission of liability. We accepted the terms after a little delay and our client happily got away with millions of naira.
According to the head of FOI Counsel, President Aigbokhan, Esq “whenever there is electrocution, it means that the electricity poles mounted are not earthed with a copper wire driven into the soil with an earth-rod or the earthing system was not constructed as a safety device. There can be a suit against the distribution company and or the Federal Government who ought to monitor the installations of the distribution companies”. He added “there should be routine inspection and maintenance of all defective high tension network across the country. In all, we have fought a good fight and are proud of our success in the case of Emmanuel Ijeneme”.
We fought for a child to reach others