PHED boss decries rising wave of electricity facility vandalism
… MD says no going back on prosecution of power facility thieves
Two more electricity facility thieves have been arrested in Eket, Akwa Ibom State, to add to a growing number of vandals ravaging facilities across the Niger Delta.
Henry Ajagbawa , managing director/CEO of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED), has however vowed to pursue his drastic policy of zero-tolerance of energy theft and full prosecution of culprits.
In a statement issued by John Anonyai, head, corporate communications of PHED, the CEO commended youths for apprehending the two electricity vandals.
The CEO commended the youths of Idung Udofa Community in Eket LGA for their vigilance in apprehending the two electricity vandals believed to have vandalized armored cable from the Udofia QIC Substation of the company in Eket.
The two suspects whose plot was said to have been foiled by the youths of the area are currently cooling off in the police cell at the Eket Divisional Police Station awaiting prosecution.
The third vandal is at large while the police are on his trail to bring him to justice, the MD said.
While commending the youths for acting in accordance with the basic understanding of protecting public utilities, Ajagbawa condemned the unlawful action of the vandals and assured that those who vandalise public facilities will always be dealt with according to the law.
He expressed displeasure at the habitual culture of vandalism in the company’s franchise area despite the company’s public sensitisation and customer engagement for the public to understand the destructive consequences of vandalism of electricity assets on customers and the general public.
Ajagbawa reiterated his firm position on instituting legal proceedings against any person or group of persons found to be engaged in vandalism of PHED critical assets regardless of their status in the society.
He also disclosed that there are many electricity vandals in various cells on the roll-call to be prosecuted by the courts using the extant laws as enshrined in the ESPRA Act (2005) ,Miscellaneous Offences Act and the Nigerian Criminal Code.
The CEO emphasised that Infractions have no place under his watch and that each case would be pursued to a logical conclusion using every legal option at their disposal.
In another development, it has been observed that customers are in the habit of interfering with high tension lines either by cutting trees, trading or erecting structures very close to power lines.
The PHED thus condemned such risky behaviours which the CEO said can lead to electrocution at the slightest interference.