14 August 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – THE Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, has vowed to arrest and prosecute anyone caught sabotaging power supply in the country.
The General Manager of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Mr. Oyeleke Adeoye, who made reference to illegal sand mining under the Egbin-Ikeja 330KV high tension wire in Lagos, said the PHCN management has put in place security measures to curb the menace.
Giving the warning during a town hall meeting with the representatives of the community under Magboro, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway,
Adeoye said the essence of the meeting was to fashion out ways to tackle the perennial problems associated with uncontrolled evacuation of sand under PHCN transmission line.
He said, “The reason why we called for this meeting is to enlighten you on the inherent danger associated with this uncontrolled evacuation activities. The financial implications of the remedies could be better channeled to the development of the grid.”
The meeting which lasted for over two hours was attended by the State Security Service, Nigeria Police, Nigerian Civil Defense Corps and traditional chiefs, to find lasting solution to the ongoing illegal dredging perpetuated by the sand dealers.
Adeoye, who was represented by Mrs Celestina Osinm, Manager, Corporate
Affairs, TCN, said the ongoing excavation under the towers of the transmission line along Orowofela, Ilupeju, Omotedo, Sanni and Kajola, communities under Obafemi-Owode Local Government area of Ogun State, posed a serious threat to power supply.
In her words, “Those who are perpetuating this act don’t realise the gravity of damage they are doing to the communities and the country at large. We need to urgently stop them to avoid total breakdown of the towers.
“This is our third time of coming to this community on this issues, our attention has been drawn to the continuous illegal evacuation activities by some laterite dealers under PHCN transmission lines despite the concerted efforts of the Nigerian Police to stop them.”
She warned that TCN will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute anybody or association found dredging illegal sand under the transmission lines, adding that if the towers were brought down, the entire country power supply will be affected.
According to her, “We cannot afford to allow a few people to jeopardise our collective interest in moving the country and power sector forward, we urged all traditional chiefs in these communities to caution their subjects and the perpetuators to desist from the act or face the wrath of the law. This ugly activity calls for a national re-think and prompt collective action in order to speedily reverse the ugly trend with its negative socio-economic consequences before the towers collapse.”
Responding on behalf of the traditional rulers, Chief Akibu Sanni, the Bale of Sanni Omotedo, said that the affected communities are willing to collaborate with TCN to find lasting solutions to the ongoing menace in the area, adding that the essence is to avoid putting the community at risk.
He, however, urged the management of TCN to employ security agents that will watch over their towers, adding that the communities alone cannot ensure their safety.