Alexander Okere, Benin
Grief has enveloped the Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of Edo State as family plans to bury of a teenager, Benedict Sani, who was electrocuted. Southern City News has learnt that the burial may hold on Saturday.
This is just as a government delegation, led by the Commissioner for Education, Mr Emmanuel Agbale, visited the grieving parents, describing the death of the boy as a huge loss.
Governor Godwin Obaseki, represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Taiwo Akerele, had earlier paid a condolence visit to the Sanis.
It was also gathered that the family members of the deceased had agreed to withdraw their case from the police to enable them to bury him, even as the Benin Electricity Distribution Company had offered to compensate the family.
The 13-year-old pupil of Eyaen Secondary School had last Thursday suffered a fatal electric shock after making contact with a faulty pole belonging to the BEDC along the Benin-Auchi expressway.
The pole, bearing high-tension cables around Eyaen Primary School, was said to have been damaged when a vehicle rammed into it on July 9.
The deceased, who was the only son of his parents and had aspired to become a Catholic priest, was said to have touched a metal rod that had been exposed due to the damage and was burnt beyond recognition.
The development had sparked a protest by angry pupils and residents, who blamed the BEDC for allegedly failing to fix the pole.
The father of the deceased, Pius Sani, blamed the death of his son, who was preparing to sit for his JSS 3 exams, on the alleged negligence of the distribution company.
Our correspondent gathered that the management of the Disco paid a condolence visit to the bereaved family on Tuesday and promised to take care of the burial expenses.
An uncle to the father of the deceased, Chief Samuel Tamara, who spoke to our correspondent, said that the BEDC management was accompanied by officials from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Tamara said, “We received a delegation from the BEDC, led by its executive director. Representatives of the NERC were also around. They showed their sympathy over what happened and that they had set up a high-powered investigative committee to investigate the remote cause of the problem and to know how to avert future occurrence.
“They said that they were ready to take care of the burial expenses as well as trying to see how they can pacify the family in a way of compensation. But we decided that we are ready to bury the boy (deceased) first.
“We are proposing Saturday. Right now, we want to go the police station so that we can close the case and so that they (police) can release the corpse to us.”
He also stated that the Catholic parish where the deceased served as an altar boy would be carried along in burial plans.
“Immediately we finish from the (police) station, we are going to the church, so that we can inform the church. Our proposal (for the burial) is Saturday.
“If is convenient for the church, it is fine. If it is not, we will know the appropriate date. But, as a family, we are proposing Saturday,” Tamara added.