A Magistrate Court sitting in Otuocha, Anambra East has sentenced two middle-aged men to three years imprisonment for vandalizing facilities belonging to the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC.
The convicts Amaechi Joe and Ejike Chigozie were jailed by Chief Magistrate, Onunkwo, after they were arraigned by the police for vandalising the Ring Main Unit (RMU) handle of an Injection Substation belonging to the EEDC in Aguleri, Anambra State.
The vandals, who were tried on a two count charge of conspiracy and stealing, offences punishable under section 495(a) and 353(12) of Criminal Code Cap 36 Vol. II Revised Law of Anambra State 1991 as amended, have been moved to Onitsha Prison, where they are expected to serve their term.
Just recently, three suspected vandals identified as David Michael Ifeanyi, Sunday Nweke and Celestine Nweke, were arrested by the officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Anambra State Command, for attacking EEDC property.
The suspects have been arraigned at the Federal High Court Awka, where they pleaded not guilty to the two count charge slammed on them.
The presiding High Court Judge, however, ordered that they be remanded at Awka Prison, while the matter was adjourned to 10th October, 2018.
In a related development, four other suspected vandals identified as, Azubuike Ezebuokwu, Onye Ogunna Frankling, Chigozie Ekweme and Emezu Emeh, were arrested by some members of the vigilante group in Mgbidi, Imo State, for vandalizing the Eziani Community transformer in Mgbidi, property of EEDC.
They were subsequently arraigned before the Federal High Court Owerri where they pleaded not guilty to a two-count charge.
They were granted bail, but remanded at the Federal Prison Owerri until their bail conditions are met. Meanwhile, the case was adjourned to 17th October, 2018 for further hearing.
Reacting to the developments, the EEDC head of communications, Mr. Chukwuemeka Ezeh said “the activities of these vandals impacts negatively on our operations and the quality of service we render to our esteemed customers, as they end up depriving customers the opportunity of enjoying our service.
“As a result, we keep committing financial resources to restore vandalised equipment; funds that ordinarily would have been channeled to other areas of our operations that will benefit our customers.
“We are, therefore, not relenting in our effort in putting a stop to this menace; while continuing to count on the support of our customers in ensuring that these installations within their neighborhood are protected. Members of the public are therefore enjoined to report any suspicious activity around the transformers serving them to their respective Feeder Manager or to the security operatives.”
“Customers should also ensure that it is only genuine and identified staff of EEDC that are carrying out repairs or maintenance operations on these installations.
“We wish to commend the continued support of vigilante groups and security agencies such as the Civil Defence Corps, the Army and the Nigerian Police towards ensuring that this ugly menace is addressed and perpetrators brought to book,” he Ezeh further stated.
The EEDC had recently inaugurated a Special Investigation and Prosecution Taskforce on Electricity Offences (SIPTEO), a collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Justice, EEDC and the Nigeria Police Force, empowered to investigate, arrest and prosecute cases of theft, vandalism as well as recover lost revenue.