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Published On: Thu, Nov 2nd, 2017

Reps want structures under high tension wires demolished

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The House of RepresentativesBy Umar Muhammad Puma

The House of Representatives has called for the removal of structures erected under high tension wires to prevent incidents.
The House also urged the Police and other relevant agencies to support the demolition exercise and maintain surveillance around the routes of the wires, to sustain the tempo after the demolition.
This resolution was sequel to a motion moved by Rep. Jimoh Olajide (Lagos-APC).
Moving the motion, Olajide explained that town and regional planning law required that a mandatory distance of 5.5metres, 15.5metres and 25metres must be observed as setback from low tension wires, 11kV wires and 35kV lines respectively by any person wishing to construct any structures.
He expressed concern over the flagrant violation of the above law by property developers who construct structures under high tension wires and close to electricity transformers, regardless of inherent dangers to the occupants.
Olajide added that many people had been electrocuted while properties worth millions of Naira were burnt when high tension wires fell on structures erected under them.
“Recall an incident in April 2016, when no fewer than five persons were electrocuted while houses were destroyed when high tension wires fell on houses in Kuta, Shiroro local government area of Niger State.
“Also remember the case of miss Deborah Faleke, who was electrocuted around Fagbento street, Alakuko,Lagos State, on May 21, 2016 when an electric wire fell on her.”
The Lawmaker further expressed concern at the nonchalant attitude of distribution Companies (DISCOs) towards victims of electrocution and owners of burnt houses following the falling of high tension wires on houses.
He however emphasised the need to ensure enforcement of law requiring that safe distances be given between high tension wires, transformers and structures where people live and transact businesses.
The House therefore mandated its Committee on Power, Works and Housing to interface with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) on the issue.
The committee will also interface with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of State government to determine ways to ensure the enforcement of laws prohibiting the erection of structures under high tension wires or close to electricity transformers.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
Meanwhile, the House yesterday also said it will investigation the activities all Federal Medical Centre and 11 River Basins across the country.
Chairman House committee on publiv accounts, Rep Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), started this when he inaugurate 6 different sub-committees in Abuja, to carry out the probe based on geo-political zones of the country.
According to a copy of the letter with reference No: HR/SC05/52/XVIX/151 dated October 3rd, 2017, and seen by our correspondent, the ‘Status of Enquiries’ arising from queries by the AuGF span through 2013 to 2016.
It said: “In this regard, you are to submit a short written brief on the activities of your office from 2013 to 2016, using the template provided below, including income and expenditure profile and the list of capital projects executed by you for the period under review, irrespective of whether or not the information is already contained in the audited accounts earlier submitted or being submitted”.
The committee had earlier taken on Vice Chancellors of the 37 federal Universities who were also requested to provide evidence of submission of up-to-date audited accounts and management reports; income and expenditure (cash basis) for the period; internally generated revenue; percentage of completion of various contracts; nominal rolls; staff training conducted with the view to determine compliance with federal character, among others.
In order to hasting the investigation, Rep Chinda explained that members of the Committee will be grouped into six sub-committees based on geo-political zones to under take the task, urging the sub-committees to ensure submission of reports in four weeks.
Relatedly, the Committee is expected to carry out similar exercise probing into the activities of 11 existing River Basin Authorities as well as all the Federal Medical Centres across the country, with a view to ascertaining their level of contribution to the national economy and compliance with extant establishment Acts of Parliament.
Chinda told the accounting officers that: “we have invited you here today to brief you on the Auditor General’s queries and perhaps to get your own responses to them as a fair parliament of the people”.
“It’s not our int intention to see anybody being sent to jail on the basis of our decision, which is why we urge you to cooperate with us to clear this backlog of queries, but if you fail to comply, we have no option than to recommend you for prosecution and imprisonment.
“Then we would have satisfied our conscience that we didn’t send anybody to jail wrongly and we would be at peace with ourselves knowing that our decision was in the best interest of Nigeria and not individuals, because we swore an oath to protect and uphold the constitution of the federal republic and the people. So it would be in your best interest to cooperate with the committee by availing us the necessary information.
“In the course of this job, the committee has come across cases of contract inflation, misappropriation of funds and monies paid for contracts not executed, and many of the accounting officers see these things and did nothing to correct them by getting the contractors to do the job for which they were paid.
“These are criminal offences for which you can go to jail and lose your credibility, which in turn buries your career for life in public service”, Chinda warned.

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