No fewer than five people were reportedly electrocuted to death on New Year’s Day after a high-tension wire fell from electrical poles on Adedoja Street, in the Odi-Olowo area of Mushin, Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that most of the victims had just finished praying at the Temidire Central Mosque on Ogunmokun Street and were on their way home when a man on a motorcycle set off some fireworks into the air.
It was said that the fireworks hit some high-tension wires on the poles, cutting one of the wires, which fell on the Muslim worshippers and some passersby.
Five people were said to have been electrocuted and burnt by the high-tension wire.
Among the dead was a 300-level student of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, identified as Abdulwasiu Apesin.
The corpses were reportedly removed by family members of the victims and policemen from the Alakara division, before officials of the Ikeja Electric reconnected the wire on Monday.
A witness and community leader, Prince Adewale Osho, said the incident happened around 12.15am while residents were celebrating the New Year.
Osho, aka Baba General, explained that the five victims were killed at two intervals, adding that two others escaped with serious injuries.
He said, “It was around 12.15am after they finished the Taajud prayers at the mosque that the incident happened. As people were going to their different homes, a man set off a few fireworks into the air, which hit high-tension wires on the street. One of the wires exploded and people tried to flee when they saw the heavy sparks and noticed that it had cut into two.
“Unfortunately, the wire fell on four people. Three died on the spot, while one boy, Adebayo, was thrown off; he survived. The wire caught the leg of a man we call Baba Lekan and twisted it. People were able to rescue the man and take him to a hospital. The power was turned off at that point.
“However, about 30 minutes later, they restored power. A motorcyclist and his passenger, who were unaware of the incident and were just riding past, were also electrocuted; they died on the spot, bringing the casualty to five.”
Osho said the police removed some of the corpses around 2am, adding that others were taken away by family members.
Our correspondent was taken to the house of one of the survivors, Abubakar Adebayo, where his parents were holding a party to celebrate his escape.
Residents were seen eating and drinking as music blared from speakers hired to mark the occasion.
Adebayo told PUNCH Metro that his escape was a miracle.
He said, “When we finished the prayers in the mosque and people left, the Imam said we should wait for another round of prayers. About five of us waited.
“It was while waiting that I observed that a man on a motorcycle had set off fireworks which hit high-tension wires. About three minutes after the motorcyclist rode into Adedoja Street, there was a spark and one of the wires snapped and fell.
“All I can remember was that the cable gripped me for some minutes before throwing me off. From where I was, I saw three other people lying on the floor. It was God that delivered me.”
A cleric at the mosque, Alfa Idris Ajetunmobi, said he was surprised that the power company only came to join the fallen wire at three points, describing it as dangerous.
He said appeals to officials of the Ikeja Electric to replace the damaged cable fell on deaf ears.
“The way the electric officials joined it at three different points can spell doom for the people in this area. We don’t want this to happen again and the only way to avert it is to completely replace that cable,” he added.
Another cleric, Mohammed Ridwan, said some of the victims were unknown to them as they came from different places to worship at the mosque.
He, however, said Apesin’s death had left his family devastated.
“His father lives in Ilasamaja and when he heard of his death, he was devastated. He said the boy was born on a Sunday and he died on a Sunday. The family is inconsolable because he just clocked 25,” he added.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, who confirmed one death, said investigations were ongoing.
She said, “I confirm the case. An electric wire dropped on four people. One died and three others were severely injured. The case is under investigation.”
The Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue, was not reachable on his line and had yet to respond to a text message to his mobile phone.
His deputy, Olusola Ayeni, however, promised to get back in a text message he sent to our correspondent.
He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.