Youths attack policemen, electricity workers with machetes
Three policemen and six employees of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) escaped being lynched at the weekend following attacks on them by angry youths in different parts of Yenagoa, the state capital.
The youths were said to be angry that amidst darkness for many days in their various suburbs, the workers under the protection of the policemen stormed their areas to recover debts and disconnect wires.
It was gathered that the Business Service Manager, PHED, Pere Alazigha was cut with machete and left in the pool of his blood by the youths.
One of the workers identified as Christian Umegbewe was reportedly pushed down from the ladder during the disconnection process.
The Chief Operating Officer, PHED, Engr. Kingsley Achife, confirmed the development in a statement issued by the Protocol Officer, Corporate Communication, Sophilia Obire.
He said that the security operatives attached to them were attacked by some residents of Epie community in Yenagoa.
He said: “The attack, which was spearheaded by youths, resulted in injury to three policemen, the Business Service Manager, Pere Alazigha, a linesman, Christian Umegbewe and other staff members involved in the disconnection exercise.
“While Alazigha was left with a machete cut on his body, Umegbewe was pushed down from the ladder by the youths during the disconnection process. Both of them were immediately hospitalized.”
Achife condemned the violence but said the attitude of the youths would not deter the commitment of PHED to service paying customers.
He said the company would continue to ensure that all customers pay for energy consumed appealing to members of the public to stop attacking workers willing to render quality service to them.
Speaking on the development, the Head, Glory City Main Integrated Business Centre, Yenagoa, Mrs. Ngozi Manafa, said the vehicle that conveyed workers to the community was also damaged with its windscreen shattered.
She said: “The Epie community has an outstanding debt record of over N60million and a current bill of over N2million to which they paid N70,000 and N50,000 respectively.
“The incident was the second in a week. Two days before then, disconnection team of PHED was also beaten up at Airtel Road.
“Only last month, some residents of Akemfa community attacked PHED staff on collection drive with the Business Service Manager, Mr. Festus Owi taken to the bush by some angry residents, a situation that led other PHED staff running for cover.
“Several other attacks have also been witnessed in Koroma in Gbarain clan of Bayelsa state, where one PHED staff was held hostage and the pick-up van was also damaged.”