Four persons, including two teenager, have been arrested at Nsugbe, Anambra State, by men of the community vigilante group for attempting to vandalise a 500KVA Distribution Substation, property of theEnugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).
The vandals were identified as Ifeanyi Okeke, 18 years, leader of the gang and an ex-convict; Ifeanyi Udekwe, 22 years; Emeka Mokwe, 22 years and Kosisochukwu Mokwe, 17 years.
They have already been handed over to the police for further investigation.
EEDC head of communication, Mr. Chukwuemeka Ezeh, who confirmed the arrest said “in the course of interrogation, the vandals confessed to have been responsible for vandalizing two other EEDC Substations in May, 2018. The substations are: Akpalagu 500KVA and Amumu 500KVA, where they carted away seven 500MM2 intermediate cables.
“The leader of the gang, Ifeanyi Okeke disclosed the name of the dealer whom they sold the items to, and the police are already working at capturing the cable dealer. He equally confessed that he co-opted other three members of the gang to assist him carry the cables to the buyer’s location as the cables were very heavy.”
In a related development, the Enugu Police Command, last month, nabbed two vandals identified as Emmanuel Nwigwe and Okechukwu Onu, indigenes of Isu Community in Ebonyi State, for allegedly stealing and vandalising electrical installations belonging to EEDC in Oji River, Enugu State.
Bundles of armoured cables were recovered from them.
Ezeh, while speaking further on the developments said, “the menace of vandalism of electrical installations belonging to EEDC has continued unabated. This impacts negatively on our operations, as funds meant for other projects like metering, transformer installation, network improvements, etc are diverted into the replacement of vandalised materials.
“We, therefore, commend the efforts of various vigilante groups, the Nigerian Police, Civil Defence as well as other security agencies, for their efforts in fighting this ugly trend.
“We equally appeal to our esteemed customers to join hands in protecting these installations.”
To stem this tide, the EEDC had recently inaugurated a Special Investigation and Prosecution Taskforce on Electricity Offences (SIPTEO) to fight individuals and organisations engaging in acts of energy theft and meter bypass, as well as those involved in vandalism of electrical infrastructures belonging to the EEDC.