Ayade threatens to sue PHEDC over viewing centre tragedy

Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade

The Cross River State government has threatened to sue the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) over the recent tragedy at a viewing centre in Calabar.

Governor Ben Ayade disclosed this yesterday when he visited the community and the victims in the hospital. The incident, which claimed eight lives and injured 18 others, occurred at Nyaghassang community when a high-tension cable fell on the roof of the centre.

The football fans were said to be watching the quarterfinal match between Manchester United and Anderlecht when the tragedy occurred. Ayade, who was not in the country when the incident happened blamed the electricity company for the occurrence.

He said: “Once there is a disconnect in the transmission line, the switchboard automatically cuts off power supply. Why that did not happen is totally unacceptable. The calibration of the switchboard must have been faulty and we suspect that may be tantamount to a criminal negligence.

“As a lawyer, I am also looking at the details and working with a team of lawyers and consultants to look at the immediate and remote causes. We would like the PHEDC to be brought to book so that this would not happen again.”

The governor donated N10 million to the families of the victims and another N10 million to the Nyaghassang community. He also promised to erect a standard viewing centre in the community and fly one of the victims abroad for further treatment, if he cannot be treated in the country. “The plaques of the victims would be displayed in the viewing centre,” he said.

The governor commended Manchester United for wearing black armband in their last match against Swansea to honour the victims and promised to write the club officially to assist the victims’ families and community.

Also, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, under the aegis of “Mothers of Efik Kingdom” donated some money to the survivors and promised to build a standard viewing centre and a town hall for the people.

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