Vandalism responsible for over 50% of blackouts- As IBEDC scores victory over vandalism

Vandalism is one of the major hindrances of IBEDC in supplying regular electricity to customers asides the inadequate energy generation in the country. Over 250 transformer substations have been vandalized across the franchise in the last 11 months valued at over ₦800M. The management of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) has reinstated the warning that any act of vandalism shall be dealt forthwith as the company would ensure the law bears down its full weight on any perpetrators found guilty of this societal menace.

In a recent incident, hoodlums carted away the armoured underground copper cables of a transformer at Idi Ose, New Eruwa, Ibadan, leaving a community of over 1000 residents in blackout. Not less than N1m had just been invested in the installation of the transformer and its vandalism dealt a serious blow to power supply to the area. Another act of vandalism was perpetrated at Ijebu-Ode where miscreants succeeded in removing a 1680m by 100mm aluminium conductor and an HT pole with a combined worth of N788,000. This inadvertently left the people of Oke-Eri community in a total blackout for some days. Even though the culprits were found and charged to the Magistrate court, significant damage had already been done. These vandals have been known to employ different tactics and methods as seen in an instance at Akobo, Ibadan where a neighbourhood gardener refused to go home and stayed in an uncompleted building overnight just to perpetrate this unlawful act on a transformer. A bigger issue being that a high number of these illegalities are made possible due to connivance between vandals and some disgruntled elements in the communities who provide cover for vandalism to fester. These are just a few of the cases that has pushed the company in taking a much stiffer stance on vandalism.

After much persistence, IBEDC scored a first at the Magistrate Court of Ogun State, Ijebu-Igbo Magisterial District on the 15th of December, 2016 as the court ruled in favour of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company in a suit where two individuals were arraigned for vandalising and stealing cables from a transformer in Oke- Agbo Community, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State. The accused persons Akeem Afeez, 19 and Yakubu Busari, 24 were apprehended on June 24th, 2016 by a vigilante group at Itamerin, Oke- Agbo in Ijebu- Igbo in Ogun state for vandalizing and stealing four pieces of 300mm2 single core, 4 by 4 meter cable of a transformer in the community valued at N136,000 (One Hundred and Thirty-Six Thousand naira) on the 24th of June 2016. The court sentenced the accused to nine months imprisonment following a three count charge of conspiracy to commit a felony, stealing and unlawful damage of the equipment. The magistrate after both parties closed their case, handed over the verdict as prescribed by the law.

Thus, IBEDC in its bid to sustain a reliable power distribution network will continue to sensitize and appeal to customers on the need to protect the various power installations such as sub-stations, transformers, poles and lines within their communities in order to avoid vandalism, energy thefts and other illegal activities. The company also solicits the support of its esteemed customers to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour while reassuring on its commitment to prosecute criminals who vandalise equipment considering the already fragile power situation in the country. We cannot continue to make replacements for vandalized materials as our own cost as this has compounded our funding issues. This, in addition to a loss of revenue during the period also adds to the pains of our customers who have to endure the darkness. IBEDC therefore warns that the long arm of the law will eventually catch up with those that continue to pursue these inimical activities across our franchise.