By Bassey Udo
Tough time awaits culprits vandalizing power assets in the Federal Capital Territory and environs, as the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has vowed not to spare anyone the full wrath of the law.
AEDC’s Chief Marketing Officer, Donald Etim, reiterated the company’s ‘Zero Tolerance for Vandalism of its Network’ stance after its former staff, Bamidele Rasaq, was sentenced to one-year imprisonment over his involvement in the vandalism of its power installations.
On May 19, 2022, Rasaq who was arrested by officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Kogi State and later charged to a Chief Magistrate Court, was found guilty of committing the offence.
Reacting to the court ruling, Etim warned that the company would not spare anyone found culpable of vandalising its network assets regardless of whether such a person is AEDC staff or a member of the general public.
The AEDC top official said further disciplinary action would be take against any erring staff, including, in this case, outright dismissal and loss of all employee benefits.
“Vandalism of electricity network infrastructure is a serious offence punishable with a Maximum Sentence of Life Imprisonment under Section 1(9) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act LFN 2004,” Etim warned.
Also, in a similar incident, an upper Sharia Court sitting in Minna, Niger State, recently handed a one-year jail term to one Abdulsalamad Abubakar, found culpable of vandalizing an AEDC substation in Paida junction in the state capital.
Abdulsalamad, who was apprehended by an official of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) while committing the crime on March 29, 2022, was charged to court for the ofdence.
He was accused of contravening Sections 123 and 385 of the Sharia Penal Code law of Niger state, which prescribes five years’ imprisonment for the offence.
Prior to his arraignment in court, the convict was paraded by the police alongside numerous items found in his possession, including 15-meter XLPE cable; 300mm incomer cable and 5 meters of 150mm.
Reacting to the incident, AEDC restates its management’s unrelenting commitment to tackle vandalism and other mischief perpetrated 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,” Etim said.
“To curtail the menace of vandalism and energy theft on our distribution infrastructure, AEDC will continue to partner with security agencies, while imploring all members of the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activities around power installations in their areas through our various contact channels,” he added.