Rivers electrocution: Police arrest pastor, agency seals Church linked to billboard

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The Rivers State Police Command said a pastor of the church that owns the billboard linked to the electrocution of five people in the Rumuosi area of Obiri-Ikwere in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State has been arrested.

The five persons who lost their lives were among the nine men electrocuted when a metal billboard they were about to install for a new-generation church touched a high-tension cable on Monday.

The four survivors were rushed by passers-by to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital for treatment.

The spokesperson for the state Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the arrest on Tuesday afternoon.

Iringe-Koko, a Superintendent of Police, stated, “Yes, I can confirm that the Assistant Pastor of the Church has been arrested.

“He is in the custody of the China Police Division as we speak. An investigation is still ongoing. ”

Meanwhile, the church on whose behalf the metal billboard was being mounted has been sealed by officials of the Rivers State Signage and Advertising Agency on Tuesday morning.

Also sealed is the billboard stand which is still at the scene of electrocution along the Obiri-Ikwere stretch of the East-West Road, as the two areas have been cordoned off with safety tapes.

Speaking, Managing Director of the RSAA, Anthony Okeah, sympathised with the victims but said the people electrocuted were mounting the billboard without approval from the agency.

Okeah stated, “They don’t have any approval from the agency. We spend time warning people against illegal activities such as this one.

“We regret what has happened, but please this will serve as a deterrent that people should learn how to do things the proper way.

“The agency regulates where billboard structures would be erected, the sizes, and whether it will cause visual blinds, accidents, and all such consequences.

“We go out every day to remove illegal structures because of where they are erected and because of the low standard.”

He warned those engaging in such forms of outdoor advertising without the agency’s authorization to desist forthwith, saying defaulters will be penalized.

“It costs the agency a whole lot. We have to hire equipment, pay loaders, welders, and artisans. You pay them daily to carry out this enforcement.

“If you must practice advertisement you must go the right way. You must be satisfied and you concern yourself with the rules and regulations of the signage agency, “the RSAA boss added.

It was gathered at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital on Tuesday morning that the four injured persons have left the health facility.

A source at the UPTH said that one of the victims of the accident simply identified as Uman left immediately after he was resuscitated, as he refused to be admitted.

The whereabouts of the three others could not be ascertained on Tuesday afternoon.