The deceased reportedly got electrocuted while installing a billboard belonging to a church.
Operatives of Rivers Police Command, have arrested the assistant pastor of a church that owns a billboard linked to the electrocution that killed five people in the Rumuosi area of Obiri-Kwere in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that nine men were electrocuted on Monday, August 21, 2023, when a metal billboard they were installing for the new-generation church touched a high-tension cable.
Five out of the 11 men reportedly died on the spot, while the four others were rushed to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) for treatment. Akwa Ibom Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the arrest, saying the cleric is in custody.
“Yes, I can confirm that the assistant pastor of the Church has been arrested.
“He is in the custody of the China Police Division as we speak. An investigation is still ongoing,” Iringe-Koko was quoted as saying when called to confirm the incident.
While the police are investigating the electrocution, officials of the Rivers State Signage and Advertising Agency (RSAA), on Tuesday, August 22, sealed the church. Also sealed was the billboard stand which was still at the scene of electrocution along the Obiri-Kwere stretch of the East-West Road, as the two areas had been cordoned off with tapes.
On his part, the Managing Director of the RSAA, Dr Anthony Okeah said no approval was given for the installation of the billboard. He warned those engaging in such form of outdoor advertising without the agency’s approval to desist forthwith, saying defaulters would be sanctioned.
“If you must practise advertisement, you must go the right way. You must be certified and you must abide by the rules and regulations of the signage agency,” he said.
The four other victims had, however, left UPTH for their various homes.