FOLLOWING concerns of frequent vandalisation of power infrastructure, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) is set to enforce the maximum punishment for vandals in its franchise areas of Abuja, Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger states.
The Chief Marketing Officer of the AEDC, Donald Etim, who gave the information on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, expressed the company’s zero-tolerance for vandalism on its network assets, irrespective of whether perpetrators of such actions are staff of the AEDC or members of the general public.
Etim, in a statement he personally signed, revealed that a report dated May 19, 2022 showed a staff member of the AEDC, Bamidele Rasaq, who was arrested by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Kogi State, had been charged to a chief magistrate court and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment for his involvement in the vandalisation of AEDC installations.
He stated further that disciplinary measures would take its full course on the staff. The measures, he said, could be outright dismissal of the staffer and loss of all employee benefits.
He stressed that vandalisation of electricity network infrastructure was a serious offence punishable by the maximum sentence of life imprisonment under Section 1(9) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act LFN 2004.
Etim, citing a related incident, said an Upper Sharia Court sitting in Minna, Niger State, handed a one-year jail term to one Abdulsalamad Abubakar, who was caught vandalizing an AEDC sub-station at the Paida junction of Minna.
Abubakar, Etim said he was informed, was apprehended in the criminal act on March 29, 2022 by an official of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), and charged to court for contravening Sections 123 and 385 of the Sharia Penal Code law of Niger State, which prescribes five years imprisonment for the offence.
The NPF had paraded the convict before journalists ahead of his arraignment in court, with numerous items found in his possession, which included one 15-metre XLPE cable, two 300mm incomer cables and three five-metre 150mm.
According to Etim, “The Management will not relent in its effort to tackle vandalism and other acts of mischief on its network. We are committed to ensuring that apprehended vandals are tried in accordance with the law and made to face the consequences of their actions without any prejudice.”
He stressed that the AEDC would continue to partner with security agencies, and implored all members of the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activities around power installations in their areas through its various contact channels.