Mr Oladele Amoda, Chief Executive Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EKEDP), said on Saturday that over N50 million was being lost monthly to electricity equipment vandalism within its network.
Amoda disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos against the backdrop of continuous power outage within EKEDP network. He condemned the increasing equipment vandalism within its operations, adding that it has forced the company to spend money meant for other electricity development projects on repairs.
He said that electricity materials, such as cables and wires, among others, had either been stolen or vandalised within its operations. He said that some areas where equipment vandalism had been rampant are Apapa, Mushin, Ikoyi, Ajegunle and Festac of Lagos State. According to him, equipment such as 300KVA and 500KVA are being destroyed in Eko Disco monthly.
“Vandalism of electricity installations in the areas has become a problem, and within the past four months, the unit has recorded further acts of vandalism of nine transformer substations. “Most times the vandals carted away eight metres of 150mm2x4 core cable, cable sockets and ferrules. “We have raised alarm over the increasing rate of vandalism of our equipment in recent time, while we have also beefed up surveillance, ‘’ he said.
Amoda, therefore, called for the review of existing laws on vandalism of electricity equipment and other public facilities and their replacement, saying that there is the need for stiffer penalties against culprits. The officer said that the stringent laws and penalty would help reduce and possibly eradicate the nefarious act. He added that the existing laws against vandalism of electricity equipment were lenient on culprits, hence the need for their review. He decried a situation whereby a convicted vandal only bags two or three months jail term after causing indelible damage to the economic and social wellbeing of Nigerians who were affected by acts of vandalism.
The Eko Disco boss pointed out that vandalism of electricity equipment and other public utility facilities was a serious act of economic sabotage and should be treated as such. He said that sales of public power equipment such as transformers, aluminium conductors and armoured cables should be regulated to make it difficult for vandalised electricity equipment to be taken to open market for sale.
Amoda also stressed the need for quick trial and determination of cases of vandalism through special courts. The EKEDP boss said that a total number of 25 distribution transformer substations were vandalised thereby throwing the communities being supplied from the stations into darkness. “Apart from throwing communities into darkness, the cost of replacing vandalised equipment is colossal and we can no longer bear such costs,” he said. He, therefore, urged Community Development Associations, (CDAs), and other well-meaning community members to be on the alert and assist the power company in curbing equipment vandalism in their localities. He also called for the continued support of the Police, the State Security Service, and other security agencies in putting an end to the vandalism of electrical equipment.