While the atmosphere was overwhelmed with euphoria in preparation for the Christmas celebration, Osita Anazodo, also known as Ezebinagbo, a 32 year-old electrician who hails from Akuiro, Okpuno, Anambra State, chose to do the contrary, as he went on in the early hours of Tuesday, 25th December, 2018, at about 5.30am and attacked a 300KVA distribution substation belonging to the Enugu Electricity Distribution PLC (EEDC), located at Ugwuagulu Obiofia, Ozubulu, Anambra State.
Luck however ran out on him as an eye witness who saw him leave the scene on a motorcycle with the vandalised armoured cables placed on the fuel tank reported the incident to the leadership of the local vigilante, who immediately reinforced with youths of the community and went in search of Osita.
He was eventually apprehended and he led the team to the very spot where he had buried the vandalised cables in wait for market to reopen so that he can hand the items over to his buyer.
The local vigilante group subsequently took him to the palace of the traditional ruler of the community from where he was handed over to men of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Taskforce on Electricity Offences (SIPTEO) for further investigation and possible prosecution.
It was gathered from members of the community that this attack by Osita was the very fourth on the transformer. They equally pointed accusing finger at Osita, claiming he was the one masterminding most of the vandalism experienced in the community.
In a related development, Solomon Nwafor, a native of Ikwo in Ebonyi State was recently arrested for vandalizing Water Board distribution substation, located at Victory Estate, Emene, Enugu State. In the course of interrogation, the suspect named the buyer of the vandalised items as one Kenneth Agusi who operates at the Tinker Market, Coal Camp, Enugu. Kenneth was immediately arrested by the Police.
Also, in Ojoto, Anambra State, members of the Vigilante group arrested a vandal identified as Chinedu Ejikeme for vandalizing injection substation which is an NIPP project, located at Mmiri Ojoto area. In the course of interrogation, he confessed to be responsible for the vandalized 200KVA transformer, property of EEDC, located at Iruebenebe Community, Ojoto.
On account of Police investigation, another gang member identified as Ebuka Azuka and a buyer, identified as Obinna Odoh were arrested along with a Volvo car with registration number XA 536 KLK, which they use for their operations.
Also in Imo State, men of the Nigerian Police attached to Imo State House of Assembly succeeded in out-shooting the three-man gang of vandals that vandalized the 500KVA, 11/0.415KV distribution substation located in the area. One of the gang members who sustained gunshot wound, identified as Ndudiri Iheanacho, is currently receiving treatment at the Police Clinic. Items recovered from the vandals include: 4 pieces of single core copper cables and 3 pieces of 500mm2 single core copper cable measuring about 12 meters. Effort is however on by the Police to arrest the fleeing members of the gang.
These apprehended vandals were all handed over to the Police in the respective states for proper investigation and possible prosecution.
It will be recalled that EEDC has been making frantic effort in engaging critical stakeholders within its network, educating them on the need to be vigilant and ensure electrical installations within their environment, serving them, are safe and protected. This is to curtail the spate of vandalism, as it is subjecting customers to hardship and greatly impacting on the quality of service delivery.
EEDC has gone a step further in apprehending the buyers of these vandalised items, because it is believed that that is the motivation the vandals have. “If there is no one buying the items, there won’t be that motivation for the vandals to engage in this act”.
Last year, two buyers were sentenced to years imprisonment and we are hopeful that after the due process of law, these ones apprehended will serve their term in prison. We will not relent in this struggle, and hope that this serves as deterrent to many others that are engaging in such criminal activities.
It is worrisome that while EEDC is striving to improve on its service delivery, some individuals that ordinarily should have been engaging in more productive activities resort to frustrating both the company and its customers. This singular act costs EEDC a lot financially, and end up subjecting our customers to a lot of inconveniences.
We appreciate the effort and support of the various vigilante groups as well as the state security agencies in apprehending these vandals and prosecuting them accordingly.