A native of Ogwu Amanasa village, Umuchu, Aguata local government area of Anambra state, Uchechukwu Maduakor, was recently sentenced to seven years imprisonment without option of fine by Hon. Justice Ibrahim B. Gafai of Federal High Court 1 Awka, Anambra state for vandalizing electricity installation belonging to the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).
In a statement made available to Blueprint in Abuja Tuesday, by the Head of Communications, EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, Maduakor was charged with unlawfully damaging wires used for converting electricity by cutting off high tension cables at Umuchu, an offense contrary to the provisions of the Miscellaneous Offenses Act, Cap M17, Vol. 9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
According to Ezeh, Maduakor was arraigned in court on 26th September 2017, where he pleaded not guilty to the charge, before the trial commenced, while also recounting that sometime in May, 2019, EEDC secured judgement when the duo of Obasi Nkama Ukpai and Orji Okporie were sentenced to one year, six months imprisonment by Hon. Justice I.P Chima of High Court 2 Afikpo, Ebonyi state, for conspiring to steal cables belonging to the organisation.
Nevertheless, Ezeh said that, to forestall this trend, EEDC has been in constant touch with critical stakeholders which include state security agencies and local vigilante groups, soliciting their continued support in ensuring that these electrical installations in their vicinity are not vandalized.
The statement reads in part: “EEDC is not relenting in its commitment to ensuring that apprehended vandals are tried in accordance with the law and made to face the consequences of their actions. It is expected that this will serve as a deterrent to many others out there, engaging in such act.
“Vandalism is a major challenge negatively impacting on our operations, including draining of transformer oil, removal of the feeder pillar unit, intermediate or up-riser cables, transformer winding coil or total removal of the transformer, removal of spans of aluminum conductors and other line fittings such as Port Insulators and Cross-Arms.”
Furthermore, he said: “EEDC has spent millions of Naira on monthly basis replacing and repairing vandalized facilities, coupled with the revenue loss incurred by the business as a result of this challenge. EEDC commends the efforts of the various communities and their youths, government security agencies and local vigilante groups in the fight against vandalism, calling on her customers and the general public to join in this fight towards the eradication of the menace.”
“There is no way we can sustain our operations and deliver quality and improved service to our customers if this situation is not brought under control. Customers are therefore advised to be vigilant and not allow these installations vandalized, as they will be inconvenienced once this is allowed to happen. They should report any suspicious attempt report to the EEDC office serving them or to the nearest police station or call the company’s whistle blowing lines: 084 700 110/0814 602 6678.”