The Rivers state government and the police have clamped down on the church which initiated the erection of the billboard that electrocuted five persons and injured four others.
The tragedy occurred on Monday, August 21, when the long metal billboard had contact with a high-tension wire during its installation by the nine victims along Obiri-Ikwerre, Obio-Akpo local government area of the state.
The police public relations officer, Grace Iringe-Koko, said on Tuesday that the police arrested the assistant pastor of the church following the incident.
It was also gathered that officials of the River State signage and advertising Agency sealed the building of the church that owns the billboard.
An official of the agency, who spoke in confidence, said the church and the site where the billboard was being installed when the incident occurred had been cordoned off.
The managing director of the Rivers State Advertising Agency, Tony Okeha, said the victims carried out the act without approval insisting that they embarked on an illegal assignment.
He said: “They do not have any approval from the agency. We have spent time in warning people against illegal activities such as this one. We regret what has happened but this will serve as a deterrent that people should learn how to do things the proper way.
“The agency regulates what billboard structures should be erected where and whether it will cause visual blindness or accident and all such consequences. We go out every day to remove illegal structures because of where they are erected and because of the low standard.”
He warned persons mounting billboards without the agency’s authorization to stop adding that defaulters would be penalized.
“This cost the agency a whole lot because we have to hire equipment to carry out this enforcement. If you must practise advertisement, you must go the right way. They must be certified,” he said.
It was, however, gathered that the four people, who survived the electrocution and were rushed to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) had been discharged.
Sources from the hospital said one of them left immediately after he was resuscitated and refused to be admitted to the facility.