Eight suspects have been arrested in different parts of the South-East region of the country for vandalizing facilities belonging to the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, PLC, EEDC.
Head, Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, who confirmed the arrests, attributed the service disruptions experienced in some parts of its network to activities of vandals.
In a statement on Thursday, Ezeh lamented bitterly on how the increasing rate of vandalism had adversely affected the company’s service delivery to its customers.
He also commended the support of critical stakeholders and the various vigilante groups in nipping the ugly trend in the bud, even as he confirmed that most of the arrests were made by vigilante groups.
He attributed the development to the consistent engagement with stakeholders on the need to ensure that the electrical installations sited within their neighbourhoods were protected from attack by vandals.
According to Ezeh, over the weekend, a suspected vandal identified as Nonso Sunday Nwajonta, was arrested in possession of aluminum conductors (cables), by the youths of Ulakwo community, Owerri West Local Government Area, Imo State.
“Within the same period, with the assistance of security men attached to Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Ifeanyi Onwe and Anthony Oselebe, were arrested for vandalizing a substation belonging to EEDC situated along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, by Pioneer Students Hostel.
“Earlier in the month, at Uzuakoli, Abia State, the Ngwu relief distribution substation belonging to EEDC was attacked by vandals, and the upriser cable carted away, but with the intervention of Uzuakoli vigilante group, one of the vandals identified as Henry Nwachukwu was arrested, while three of his colleagues took to their heels. Efforts are being made by the police to arrest the fleeing suspects.
“At Eziafor, Abia State, some members of vigilante group arrested the duo of Kingsley Uko Agwu and Ebere Ofia Uchendu, while vandalizing a feeder panel, property of EEDC,
” he disclosed.
Ezeh recounted that late August, Ogayi Chukwuka was arrested by members of Umuoru Amaechi community electricity committee in Ohaukwu Local Government Area, Ebonyi State, while vandalizing a distribution transformer belonging to EEDC.
He said items recovered from the suspect included “100mm2 aluminum conductor, 20m and 50mm2 copper conductor 5metres.”
“Similarly, the Nkpor vigilante group arrested one Ubaka Okafor for vandalizing Umusiome distribution substation, property of EEDC, carting away three Intermediate Cables, as well as the upriser cable.
“All the customers being fed by the attacked substations are currently subjected to blackout and untold inconveniences, and as a result, EEDC has not been able to live up to its responsibility owing to these acts perpetrated by the suspects”
, Ezeh said.
He confirmed that all the suspects were handed over to the police for proper investigation and possible prosecution, and further encouraged customers “to be more vigilant in ensuring that the electricity infrastructures within their environment were safe from vandals, so that power services will not be disrupted.”