23rd December, 2010
The rate at which generator fumes or related incidents have been killing Nigerians this year is worrisome. Something urgent must be done to prevent theÂ untimely deaths.
Only this week, a staff of Fidelity Bank Plc, in Ikosi, Ketu, Lagos, Mr. David Adeogun, was burnt to death when he tried to switch on his generating set inÂ Agege area of the state where he resided with his wife.
Adeogun, it was gathered, returned from work at night and there was no electricity from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
As he tried to switch on his generating set with a torch, a call came in, this led to the explosion. He was seriously burnt and rushed to a nearby hospital.Â He did not survive.
Last month, residents of Okiki Street, Agaguro Town at Ikorodu in Lagos, were also thrown into mourning following the death of two lovers, Yemi Obote, andÂ Sade Adeleke, who were killed by generator fumes.
While 46-years old Obote, a divorcee with child, hailed from Edo State, Adeleke, 32, was an indigene of Sagamu in Ogun State.
Last year, many were reported to have died or been seriously burnt due to generator incidents.
In July 2008, at least 17 people died at a prayer meeting in the eastern part of the country after breathing noxious fumes from their power generator whileÂ asleep. Many other died the same year in other parts of the country.
Generator fumes kill scores of people in Nigeria every year. Many incidents even go unreported.
The deaths seem to follow the same pattern: Residents switch on their generating set, fall asleep, inhale the deathly fumes and die by suffocation or areÂ burnt to death.
Most residents are afraid of robbers and keep their generators running right by their doors or windows. This allows the fumes to gain access into their roomsÂ and when danger strikes, it is too late to rescue them.
The deaths highlight the worsening power crisis in Africaâ€™s top oil producer, where the near collapse of the national grid is forcing homes and businesses toÂ turn to portable generators.
Some areas in Nigeria have not had electricity this year. People resort to generating their own electricity by acquiring all kinds of generators and takingÂ all sorts of risks.
It is high time these untimely deaths stopped. It is a shame that the second biggest economy in Africa cannot generate stable electricity for its people.
Residents must also be careful while handling generators. Generators must be kept in a generator house, away from the living or bedrooms. It is better toÂ lose a generator than to be killed by it.
While switching on or off a generator, phones and other fire-sensitive objects must be kept away.
But above all, government must wake up and resolve permanently the issue or electricity in this country. It is only when electricity is stable that theÂ economy can develop and Nigerians will be better off.