Ikeja Electric Plc has called for community support in the fight against vandalism of electrical facilities in Nigeria.
This is coming on the heels of vandalisaton of installations belonging to the company in Igando community, a bustling suburd located in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The criminal activities, which have currently plunged over 6,000 households and businesses located in and around Igando into darkness, were largely targeted at transformers as 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 has become quite alarming and is depriving legitimate customers of their right to steady power supply.
“In the past two weeks, over 24 transformers were vandalized in 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”, Ofulue said.
Ofulue noted that the cost of replacing the stolen assets is huge and would take some time to restore. He further called on community leaders, youth associations and security agencies to intensify efforts in ensuring that electrical assets within their communities were protected.
While explaining that the company is partnering with security agencies to track the vandals, he also urged 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.
He warned that collaborators in the crime when caught would face the full wrath of the law, pointing out that Section 1(9) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act provides a stiff punishment, up to life imprisonment, for offenders who unlawfully disconnect, remove, damage, tamper or meddle with or in any way whatsoever interfere 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.