Port Harcourt — A Magistrates Court in Port Harcourt has sentenced a 35-year-old man, Etim Offiong, to one year jail term for vandalising four core armoured cables from a 500KVA transformer, belonging to the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC.
The convict, was arrested by Police operatives while carrying out the act, inside an electricity substation, on November 8, 2020 near Ernest Ikoli street in Old GRA Port Harcourt, and subsequently charged.
He was arraigned before the Chief Magistrate, Chinwe Amanda, on one count bothering on conspiracy and felony.
The charge reads, “That you Etim Offiong and others at large on 8th November, 2020 at Mbiama, by Ernest Ikoli street, Old GRA, Port Harcourt in the Magisterial District, did conduct yourselves in a manner likely to cause breech of peace by trying to disconnect armoured cables of a transformer belonging to PHEDC and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 249(d) of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Vol. II, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
The suspect pleaded guilty to the charge and was convicted and sentenced to one calendar year imprisonment, counting from the day of first arraignment.
Reacting to the the development, the management of PHEDC has said that the judgement would serve as a deterrent to unscrupulous elements who nurse the intension of vandalising public assets.
Acting Manager, Corporate Communications, PHED, Chioma Aninwe, called on members of the public to be at alert and report every suspicious movement around electricity installations.
“This judgement is milestone in the fight against vandalism, where people throw other citizens into darkness for their selfish reasons of vandalising and selling power installations and we are using this medium to thank the residents of Mbiama street, near Ernest Ikoli street who were on the alert and carried out community policing on November 8 and caught the convict.
“This will serve as a deterrent to anyone who is thinking of throwing citizens into darkness because when sabotage happens it puts everyone into suffering, businesses and put on a standstill because electricity is wired and once one armoured cable is missing somewhere everyone is in darkness.
“We therefore call on the general public to be very alert, if you suspect any movement around any electricity infrastructure, try to identify the individual with PHED ID cards and be sure that the individual is genuine to avoid any sabotage.”