The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company has said over 215 of its electricity transformers have been vandalized in the last few weeks in Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River States.
Raising the alarm, and appealing to the members of the public to desist from the condemnable act of tampering with its network, fittings, meters, wires and especially carting away of power transformers, the DISCO says it is suing for understanding of the public on the need to shun such act which can affect its overall efficiency in supplying electriticity.
Dr Henry Ajagbawa, Managing Director of PHED, said that despite the huge investments in infrastructures guzzling millions to overhaul ageing assets for efficient service delivery, all efforts to achieving desired results were being sabotaged by the despicable action of these vandals.
He lamented that in spite of a flurry of campaigns on vandalism and its negative effects and inherent risks, including electrocution and untimely death, some anonymous persons have chosen vandalization of DISCO’s assets as their pastime.
He warned that PHED will not relent in tackling any further case of suspected and deliberate act of vandalism hence, the company will invoke every extant laws against vandals, as vandalism of electricity assets remains a jailable crime under the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Laws of the Federation.
“In recent weeks, the company has recorded more cases of vandalism of its assets than it has ever experienced from inception in 2013, as over 215 power transformers in our franchise area have been vandalized with no end in sight.
“A grave concern for PHED is that the replacement of those vandalized power assets costing millions of naira, is capital intensive and also has the propensity to keep other responsible customers in unforeseen darkness which is a disservice.
“Assuming that the vandals are not interested or choose to ignore the gravity of their actions as law breakers, the willfull destruction and theft of critical power assets is a jail-able offence under the laws guiding public utilities.
“The general public is therefore informed that PHED is more than prepared to tackle any further case of suspected and purposeful act of vandalism hence, the vandals should be warming up for a real battle for their freedom as PHED will invoke extant laws below against the vandals.”
The PHED boss further stated that the habitual act of vandalism poses a highs risk of instigating societal crimes in such a period where the citizenry are experiencing relative peace in the State