22 December 2015, Abuja – Five people, who were caught and charged to court for vandalising electricity distribution assets of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Plc (EEDC) have been sentenced to various prison terms by courts sitting in south eastern states.
The vandals – Uduma Ama Iro; Ewa Ikechukwu and Tochukwu Igwe, as well as Femi Ajewole and Bestman Ekuma were convicted by the courts for tampering with; destroying and stealing of armoured cables, transformer oils, transformers, meters, injection substations, conductors and other electricity supply equipment of the distribution company.
The distribution company said in a statement at the weekend that the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki and presided over by Justice M.A Onyetenu, had in its judgement found Iro; Ikechukwu and Igwe guilty of the offences and sentenced them to six, five and five years jail terms, respectively.
Also, the Federal High Court sitting in Owerri convicted Ajewole to three years imprisonment without any option of fine for acts of vandalism which the court regarded as economic crime against the company and people under the network.
Ekuma was at the Federal High Court in Enugu sentenced to three and seven years imprisonment for vandalism of electricity assets by Justice D.V Agishi.
The statement noted that Agishi had in the court’s judgment said that the sentence would run concurrently, and that, “vandalism of electricity equipment is a big sabotage to the economy of the nation and a hindrance to national development and must be discouraged by all and sundry.”
EEDC however said in its reaction to the development, that vandalism was seriously affecting its operations in its coverage areas.
The Disco’s Head of Communications, Eugene Anionwo stated that acts of tampering with EEDC installations remain a punishable offence under section 516 of the criminal code.
Anionwo stressed that it was unlawful to disconnect and remove EEDC cables and cutting off customers from electricity supplies because of such pecuniary reasons.
He also stated that over 50 cases of assets vandalism; arrests and prosecution have been recorded in the distribution zone, and urged its customers to help identify and report instances of people tampering with its distribution assets.
“The management of EEDC is hereby using this opportunity to advise those who perpetrate these crimes to desist in the interest of the people and economy of our zone.
“We also appeal to those buying these facilities as the long arms of the law may catch up with them some day,” Anionwo said while commending the courts for the judgment.
He noted the Disco’s delight with the support it has received from various stakeholder groups with regards to protecting the integrity of its distribution assets in the zone.
Anionwo similarly disclosed that the Disco has just procured and deployed another set of 100 units of 500kVA distribution transformers to enhance electricity supply to its customers in the five States under its distribution network.
He said that the procurement was made in response to the increasing demand for electricity by its customers, adding that the transformers are being deployed and commissioned as reliefs and replacement in areas with faulty and overloaded transformers in its18 business districts.
According to him, the 500kVA distribution transformers are also part of the Disco’s robust plan to tackle the dominant challenges of supply availability to some customers due to vandalism; overloaded and faulty transformers.
He noted that the Disco has being contending with vandalism and transformer oil drainage which has put some substations out of service.
He also revealed that N25 billion has been earmarked for Geographic Information Systems (GIS); enumeration and metering of customers and procurement of assets.
This, Anionwo added will cover deployment of 750,000 pre-paid meters, installation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Platform, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems and Contact Centre. He stated that already the company has started installing maximum demand meters for its registered commercial users.
- This Day