By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade on Wednesday finally visited the victims of the Calabar Viewing Center tragedy of April 20, 2017 which left 8 people dead.
The visit came 19 days after the incident and 18 days after he promised to cut short his trip to Geneva, Switzerland where he was attending a World Summit on Neglected Tropical Diseases to attend to the issue.
Upon arrival at the Margaret Ekpo International airport, Ayade accompanied by his wife, Linda and deputy, Professor Ivara Esu and the Health Commissioner, Inyang Asibong, visited the Nyaghasang community where they spoke with residents and some victims discharged from the hospital and the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital where he spoke with victims still on admission.
Ayade had earlier told newsmen at the airport that the details so far showed negligence on the part of the distribution company.
“Naturally in transmission designs, once there is a disconnect in the transmission line, the switchboard automatically cuts off power supply. Why that did not happen, is totally unacceptable.
“The calibration of the switchboard must have actually been faulty and we believe that this is tantamount to negligence,” Ayade said and disclosed that efforts were been made to bring the relevant authorities to book.
“I am also looking at the details and working with a team to look at the proper way that PHEDC will be brought to book. Let this not happen again. We won’t let it happen. We are going to be very aggressive and focused on it.”
In honor of the victims, Ayade said that: “As part of my commitment to that incident and to stamp it with my authority that it will not happen again, we are building a new viewing center in their honor and that is part of the emergency project that we are going to build this week.”
On Manchester United players wearing black armbands in honor of those who died” Ayade said: “It shows how villageous the whole world is becoming and the sensitivity of the understanding that there is desperation for their fans to show love for them that this kind of incident happened.
“We can take it a step further by formally writing to them. I think they need to be here particularly by the time we are commissioning the ultra modern viewing center that will be erected in their honor,” he added.
However, he explained that his return from Geneva was delayed because “I also switched across to Germany, Italy and the UK focusing on areas of state needs discussing with investors. As usual, you will see that once I arrive today, you will see investors coming in, arriving alongside.”
He said an investment team; Goldwind arrived ahead of him to visit the Obudu Cattle ranch and the Calas Vegas for studies to develop the first wind turbines in the country.
Furthermore, the Governor said his administration’s participation at the Geneva summit was “to accentuate the position of Africa from the perspective of those who receive these kind donations from the international community and of course to also express the critical areas that we find.”