More than nine months after some staff of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc were assaulted, battered, and held hostage by a certain Mr Richard Akinaka in his house, the power distribution company is still calling for justice over the harassment, assault, manhandling, hostage taking and threat to the lives of the PHED staff.
Mr Akinaka, a customer of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc, with account number 851192190101 at Road 6, Ibom Close, Ibom Layout, Calabar, Cross River State had on July 13, 2021, committed the alleged offence when he assaulted and locked up staff of PHED who were on their normal official assignment to conduct monthly meter reading at his premises. But he will not have any of such exercise in his compound, so he came out of his abode enraged and engaged the staff in a heated argument.
He subsequently, injured and battered them, and with the aid of his boys and security aids held them hostage in his house for several hours. According to the report, it took the intervention of the PHED Zonal Head, the company’s lawyers, Nigeria police and men of the Civil Defence Corp to secure their release from Richard Akinaka’s illegal custody and detention even if he had boasted that he will keep them for as long as he wanted because he is untouchable.
PHED in two separate petitions dated July 13, 2021, had approached the ministry of justice and the State Commissioner of Police on the matter praying that the matter be urgently investigated to facilitate the prosecution of Mr Akinanka.
Regrettably, the matter has not received the required attention as the police has been evasive and has refused to charge the matter to court.
PHED’s unending pain is that such incidences remain a recurring decimal amongst our workforce which deprives them of their fundamental human rights against lawless hands.
Moreso, as the days goes-by without any hope for respite, it becomes glaring that the law is either selective or incapable of protecting our workers. Hence, we make a passionate call to all concerned authorities to rise to the challenge and stem the tide of impunity against selfless workers.
Meanwhile, the MD/CEO of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc Dr. Henry Ajagbawa had on several occasion has warned against assaulting his staff, vandalism, meter by-passing and other activities inimical to the welfare of staff and operations of the company. He expresses confidence that this model case should be of interest to Nigerians and that justice must prevail.