…calls for community support in protecting electrical equipment
Power supply to Igando, a bustling community located in Alimosho local government area of Lagos State, South-Western Nigeria has been severely compromised, following a wave of vandalism of electrical installations belonging to Ikeja Electric plc.
The criminal activities, which has currently plunged over 6,000 households and businesses located in and aroundIgando into darkness, have largely targeted transformers where single core and up-riser cables worth millions of naira were carted away.
Head, Corporate Communications for Ikeja Electric Plc, Felix Ofulue, decried the development, noting that the increase in the vandalism of the company’s assets had become quite alarming and is depriving legitimate customers of their right to steady power supply.
“In the past two week, over 24 transformers were vandalizedin Igando, leaving our customers in total darkness and this is quite worrisome considering the discomfort and economic loss to this community.It is quite troubling and intolerable because innocent customers are suffering,” he said.
Ofuluenoted that the cost of replacing the stolen assets was huge and would take some time to restore. He further called on community leaders, youth associations and security agencies to make improved efforts to ensure that electrical assets within their communities were protected.
While explaining that the company is partnering with security agencies to track the vandals, he also encouraged vigilant members of the community to report suspected vandals to the appropriate authorities or to Ikeja Electric for prompt action.
“These vandals sometimes operate from within the community. They keep the stolen assets somewhere. They sell to someone. It is possible that one or two people may see something, so we are calling on these vigilant and patriotic members of the community to speak up, so we can nip this in the bud. Don’t forget that as a business, it is counter-productive to keep replacing assets in a particular location, spending our limited resources, when we could be expanding the network and improving supply in another”, Ofulue concluded.
He further warned that collaborators in the crime when caught would face the full extent of the law. He pointed out that Section 1(9) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act provided a stiff punishment, up to life imprisonment, for offenders who unlawfully disconnect, remove, damage, tamper or meddle with or in any way whatsoever interferes with any plant, works, cables, wire or assembly of wires designed or used for transforming or converting electricity shall be guilty of an offence.
Only recently, thirty-year-old Ahmed Umar was sentenced to six months in prison at a Lagos Magistrates’ Court, Ogudu, for vandalizing a transformer belonging to Ikeja Electric. He was alleged to have stolen a copper wire valued N100,000 from a 500KVA transformer located at Olutunfese sub-station, by Demurin Street in Ketu, Alapere.