The Benin Electricity Distribution Plc. (BEDC) has decried the rising cases of vandalism across its franchise zone which it says aside being an economic crime is an act of sabotage against the good purpose and intents of the company.
Vandalism of the electricity distribution network and other forms of electrical thefts are serious threats to the sustainability of Nigeria’s power sector, a development which has also negatively affected service delivery to customers.
According to a statement from BEDC, there is need for members of the public to be vigilant and security conscious on the activities of some unruly elements in the society whose aim is to make life unbearable for them through their nefarious acts.
BEDC noted that the effects of vandalism should stimulate tougher laws to be enforced to protect public property, especially electricity infrastructure.
The distribution company noted that the power sector has suffered maximum impact as residential customers, industries, small and medium scale businesses are being starved of power as a result of the activities of vandals.
‘’The recent surge in cases of vandalism within our franchise area calls for greater attention. More worrisome is the fact that these miscreants are continuously innovating new ideas beyond human comprehension to perpetrate their criminal acts,” BEDC’s head of corporate affairs, Adekunle Tayo said in a statement seen by BusinessDay.
He noted that the recent vandalism of 14 spans of electricity conductors in Ilu-titun, Southern Ondo state, on a line currently being rehabilitated by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) is very disturbing.
“More disturbing is the fact that Okitipupa town was recently thrown into blackout as a result of the vandalism of 20 spans of electricity conductors which occurred between Ode-Aye and Okitipupa. As a company, we see these as acts of economic sabotage against the good intentions of BEDC,” he remarked.
Tayo noted that BEDC regrets the situation whereby the money that could have been judiciously invested on network upgrade such as energisation of new transformers or construction of new lines to relieve existing ones would now be channelled towards replacing the vandalised items.
‘’We are however not relenting in our quest to overcome this societal issue through improved community relations drive of involving all stakeholders at the grassroots aside ensuring that our facilities are well secured in our bid to arrest this ugly trend,” the statement added.
Efforts by BEDC at curbing the menace of vandalism on its network had received a boost with the sentencing of one David James to three years imprisonment by a Benin Magistrate Court 6 in Egor Local Government area of Edo state recently.
Recall in July , a 2.5MVA, 33/11KV Injection Substation at Igarra near Auchi, in Edo state was vandalized while RUM, upriser cables, incomer cables etc. were removed by the vandals.
However, luck ran out of the vandals as they were arrested by the Police Division at Ogorimagogo in Kogi State and the stolen items were recovered.