An official of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company has been assaulted by some community youth in Akwa Ibom State for trying to cut power supply to their homes during the ongoing lockdown.
The incident happened in Nkemba community in Uyo on Monday.
The electricity company confirmed the incident in a statement issued on Tuesday, saying the company’s managing director, Henry Ajagbawa, has expressed shock over the attack.
The statement signed by the company’s spokesperson, John Onyi, said the assaulted worker, Sylvanus James, was beaten by about 30 people while he was on “routine duty”.
“James, it was reported set out for duty early that morning checking out on those pre-paid customers who have not vended or made any electricity payment for almost one year in the street before he was physically assaulted with dangerous weapons by youth culminating in the loss of his two mobile phones including other valuables,” Mr Onyi said.
Mr James is in the hospital receiving treatment, while the matter has been reported to the police in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Onyi said.
“The performance of our employees and cooperation from customers are central to the success of service delivery,” the statement quoted the managing director of the electricity company, Mr Ajagbawa, as saying. “We will, as a matter of fact, not welcome any act of molestation, harassment, intimidation and physical assault on any staff.”
Two persons within the community told PREMIUM TIMES that the incident happened on the day the police on enforcement duty tightened their operation along the roads, turning people back at different checkpoints in Uyo.
Some residents who went to the electricity office to make payment were arrested by the police who accused them of violating the lockdown, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
The police in Akwa Ibom later issued a statement explaining why they had to tighten their enforcement operation.
“The CP observed with dismay that the passes issued to those on essential duties have been largely abused to the extent that the passes are photocopied and issued to all manner of persons thereby making it relatively difficult by the security agencies to identify the original copies of the pass,” the police spokesperson in the state, N-Nudam Fredrick, said in a statement on Monday evening.
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