The family of Yusuf Balogun, a former employee at Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), has petitioned the firm over his death.
In the petition seen by TheCable, Titilope Anifowoshe and Abiola Ibrahim, legal representatives to the family, said Balogun was electrocuted while carrying out official duties and later died in a hospital on March 27, 2023.
The office of the minister of works; senate committee on employment, labour, and productivity; senate committee on power; Lagos commissioner of police; and the National Human Rights Commission (Lagos) were also petitioned.
According to the lawyers, after the privatisation of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Balogun continued to work at the EKEDC “where he was recently promoted to the position of team lead in the department of operation and management of Alexander Marius Consultant”.
He was assigned to the function by his superiors who specifically reiterated the fact that [the] assignment was of high interest because the home of the father to former governor of Lagos, Babatunde Raji Fashola and minister of works, was affected by the electrical malfunction. At around 10 am, Yusuf set out for the assignment along with four other junior staff members of EKEDC. (All attempts to retrieve the names of these staff from EKEDC have proven abortive),” they said.
“The deceased had restored the light in collaboration with the control room and was at the completion of the job on the electric pole when the electricity suddenly came back on. He was instantly electrocuted and fell down from the pole resulting in multiple injuries on his head, face, legs and arm.”
Balogun’s colleagues, the lawyers said, “fled from the scene with his clothes, leaving his lifeless body on the ground only to be rescued by members of the community”
They said the deceased was rushed to Avon Medical Practise, after which he was transferred to Federal Medical Center Ebutte Metta, “where he died as a result of electrocution, multiple and severe injuries and loss of blood at 1:50PM”.
The legal representatives said Titilayo, his wife, was notified of his accident via phone call “four hours later”, adding that the family waited for “12 days” to get explanations or an address from officials of EKEDC on the cause of his death.
FAMILY DEMANDS N250 MILLION IN DAMAGES
The attorneys quoted section 7(2) of the Employee’s Compensation Act 2010 as establishing that “the employee is entitled to compensation for any accident suffered between the place of work and the employee’s residence, the place where the employee takes meals, or the place where he usually receives remuneration, provided that the employer has a prior notice of such place”.
The lawyers said the family demanded N250 million as damages for Balogun’s death, “being a breadwinner and father of three children, and to cover the scholarship of his three children to university level pursuant to section 36 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999”.
According to the legal practitioners, the family also requested a written public apology (to be published in two national dailies) from the company for the “negligence and insouciance on the part of their officials”.
The petitioners also demanded the prosecution of “all the staff who were on duty with Yusuf at the site of death”.
EKEDC: BALOGUN WAS HIRED UNDER A CONTRACT
Responding to TheCable’s enquiry on the matter, Babatunde Lasaki, general manager, corporate communications, EKEDC, said Balogun was a member of the field team hired under a contract for services with Alexandra Marius, a third-party human resource service provider (his employer).
Lasaki added that the deceased was not fixing a “fault on any customer’s premises but was working on our BAGCO 11kV feeder when the unfortunate incident occurred”.
“The incident occurred while the deceased was working on replacing a damaged cross arm on BAGCO 11kV feeder, which tripped in the early hours of Monday, March 17, 2023,” he said in a statement on Friday.
“Contrary to the deceased employer’s and Eko Disco’s safety standards, the deceased and his team at Ijora District embarked on clearing the fault without obtaining permit to work (PTW), station and guarantee — both of which represent official approval for fault clearing.
“Also contrary to the laid down safety standards by both the deceased employer and Eko DisCo, the deceased did not utilise voltage detector nor tease/ground the electric lines to ensure that the lines were out of supply before commencing fault clearing. The deceased was also not putting on any safety wears such as hard hat, hand gloves, safety belt, and coverall that were adequately made available by Eko Disco.
“Unfortunately, while fixing the fault without complying with above established safety standards, the deceased had contact with an energised line and received severe electric shock. The deceased was quickly assisted by his colleagues to disengage from the energised lines.”
Lasaki further explained that Balogun became unconscious and subsequently died at Federal Medical Centre Ebute Metta, Yaba.
He added that the necessary legal and disciplinary processes have been set in motion against the distribution team involved in carrying out the “unapproved task”.
In addition, he said the company has “engaged with Balogun’s employer to commence the process of giving respite to his family”.
Lasaki noted that both Alexandra Marius, EKEDC had contacted Balogun’s next of kin, who had “promised to consult with other family members of the deceased and give us a date for official condolence visit”.