COURTS RULING OVER PHCN AND THE RESIDENTS OF BAYELSA STATE

Court orders PHEDC to pay Bayelsa residents N100million for damages for erecting high tension poles over their roofs

By Emem Idio, Yenagoa

A Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Yenagoa and presided by Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro, has ordered the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, to pay the sum of N100 million as damages to some residents of Bossy Street in Yenagoa, the state capital for the trespass committed on their lands for erecting high tension poles and lines over their roofs without their consent and compensation to them.

Ten residents of Bossy Street located along the Tombia/Amassoma Road axis of the state capital, Mr. Seleogu Power, Mr Onwuanaru Nwokoma, Madam Rosaline Nyingifa, among seven others, had approached the court in suit No:YHC/33/2022, to seek for redress following what they described as “forcibly digging of their lands and mounting of high tension poles over their house roofs without their consent and compensation by other residents who claimed that they have been permitted by the PHEDC to do so.”


The residents in their writh of summon/claims, noted that they have made oral and written representation to PHEDC and other authorities including the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Power, the Capital City Development Authority, the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, and the Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa Command to draw their attention to the development.

They lamented that in spite of the protest, the PHEDC subsequently disconnected them from having light from a transformer they contributed money to buy, and provided light selectively to other residents, and also employed the services of uniform men to forcibly continue with the digging of their lands and erecting of high tension poles thereon.

According to the claimants, some of them were threatened and assaulted by the security men employed by PHEDC to oversee the work.


They averred that the action of PHEDC in constructing high tension lines over their roofs is a breach of the directive of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency in its letter to PHEDC to disconnect all buildings and structures under overhead tension power lines, adding m high tension lines are constructed with minimum clearance of 5.5metres on both sides to avert danger to persons and properties.

According to the claimants, that due to the wrongful erection of high tension lines on the roofs/houses most of residents are now sick and treating palpitation and related sickness.

In their prayers, they had prayed the court for an order to compel PHEDC to remove the high tension poles and lines connected over their roofs and pay the sum of N500million for the trespass committed.

They also prayed for an order compelling PHEDC to pay the sum of N100million as general damages for inconveniences, as well as perpetual injunction restraining the defendant or its agents, privies from further erecting high tension poles or construct high tension lines in the residential area of the claimants .

In his judgement, Justice Umukoro, granted the order compelling the defendants (PHEDC) to remove the high tension poles and lines connected over the roofs of the residents.

The judge however ordered PHEDC to pay N100million only for trespass on their lands as against the N500million demanded by the plaintiffs/residents.

While judge declined to grant the payment of N100million for general damages for the inconveniences, he however, granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant (PHEDC) or its agents, privies from further erecting high tension poles or connecting high tension lines in the claimants’ residential area provided that where there is compliance with due process, the injunction will not apply against the defendants.

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