By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja
Worried by the rising spate of attacks on its assets, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has vowed that it would pursue maximum punishments for those involved no matter their status in the society.
The company’s latest position followed the arrest of one of its staff, Bamidele Rasaq by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Kogi State. Rasaq was charged to a Chief Magistrate Court and sentenced to one-year imprisonment over his involvement in the vandalism of AEDC installations.
AEDC Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Donald Etim in a statement reacting to the judgment said the company has zero tolerance for vandalism of its network assets irrespective of “whether perpetrators of such actions are staff of AEDC or members of the general public”.
Mr. Etim who disclosed that disciplinary measures against the staff would take its “full course which in this case is outright dismissal and loss of all employee benefits,” added that “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”.
He also revealed that an upper Sharia Court sitting in Minna, Niger State, has handed a one-year jail term to one Abdulsalamad Abubakar, who was caught vandalizing an AEDC substation in Paida junction of Minna.
Abdulsalamad, who was apprehended in the criminal act on the 29th of March, 2022 by an official of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), was charged to court for contravening Sections 123 and 385 of the Sharia Penal Code law of Niger state, which prescribes five years’ imprisonment punishment for the offense.
The convict had earlier been paraded before journalists by the NPF ahead of his arraignment in court, alongside numerous items found in his possession, which include: (1) 15-meter XLPE cable; (2) 300mm incomer cable and (3) 5 meters of 150mm.
Etim said the company would not relent in its effort to tackle vandalism and other mischief on its network, stating that “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”.
AEDC said it will continue to partner with security agencies to curtail the menace of vandalism and energy theft on its distribution infrastructure.
The utility urged “members of the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activities around power installations in their areas through its various contact channels”.