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Enugu Disco decries increasing vandalism in South-East

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc. has expressed concern over the increase in the vandalism of its electrical facilities across the South-East region.

The organisation said it was disturbed at the latest turn of events where vandals now resort to draining transformer oil, thereby subjecting the transformer to risk of explosion once supply is restored.

The EEDC supplies electricity to the entire five states of the South-East of Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi.

In a statement on Thursday, the Head of Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr Emeka Ezeh, said in its quest to tackle the trend of vandalism of its equipment, a total of eight vandal suspects have been arrested for attacking power equipment belonging to EEDC and had been handed over to the Police for proper investigation and possible prosecution.

Ezeh said the arrest was made possible through the support of customers and other critical stakeholders, including security operatives.

According to him, at Ndiagbo Ofeke Ishieke in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, the vigilante group arrested one Chinonso Mgbada, a native of Ugwuachara, in Ebonyi while vandalising aluminum conductors belonging to EEDC, along Ohatekwe Road, Ishieke.

He also added that at Umuobia Olokoro, Umuahia, Abia State, Onyebuchi Uchechi was arrested by the villagers for vandalising aluminum conductors in their community, while the duo of Chiwendu Chukwuemeka and Azubuike Chinemere, were arrested by vigilante group at Onuinyan Village in Bende, Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, for vandalising aluminum conductors, property of EEDC.

Ezeh further recounted that a 24-year-old Okechi Chukwuebuka, a native of Aguleru in Anambra East Local Government Area, who resides at Umudim village, Nnewi, was arrested by vigilante group for vandalising a transformer located at Ozubulu.

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He also disclosed that one Ikechukwu Okafor was arrested along with his shuttle bus with registration number TTK165XA, by Ndiogbuonyeoma Ndiuche Arondiuzuogu Okigwe Community Vigilante, for vandalising their electricity power line; while Okechukwu Okafor and Toochukwu Ike, were arrested by indigenes of Amuzam in Ugbuawka Community, Nkanu East Local Government Area, Enugu State, for vandalising five spans of high tension wires in their community.

He said the negative effects of vandalism did not only affect electricity consumers, but also had its own toll on the distribution company, as huge sum was expended in restoring vandalised facilities while billions of naira is lost in revenue.

The statement said, “Before now, the vandals have been carting away armoured cables and bare conductors, but in recent times, we record more cases of drained transformer oil which poses greater danger to the transformer because it could get damaged when energised without any oil in it.

“Once vandalism happens, our customers are thrown into darkness, homes are affected, and businesses are affected too as losses are recounted amid the inconveniences that lack of electricity supply brings.

“This year alone, we have spent close to N300m in the replacement and restoration of vandalised facilities, so as to ensure our customers are not left in darkness, even as the number of unattended cases are on the rise with daily occurrences.

“We, therefore, appeal to our customers to be more vigilant and safeguard the electricity installations serving them to avoid some unscrupulous elements keeping them in darkness, especially as we are going into the yuletide.

“Customers are encouraged to see themselves as part owners of the facilities, though they belong to EEDC, but they are there to serve them, and once they are vandalized, they remain out of supply until the issue is addressed.

“While acknowledging and appreciating the efforts of the Community Vigilante groups and other security agencies in curbing the menace of vandalism, we would not hesitate to encourage other neighbourhoods/areas to organise and set up a local security outfit that will help safeguard the facilities that serve them among other responsibilities.”

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