Security agents in Aba, the industrial city of Abia State, have arrested three youths in the state for vandalizing public electric supply equipment which recently plunged parts of the state into darkness for days.
Air Commodore Nicholas Orjiude (retired), the chief security officer of Geometric Power Ltd, the owner of Aba Power Ltd which provides electricity to nine out of the 17 local government areas in Abia State, gave the names of the apprehended youths as Nnamdi Nwobilor and Desmond Nkangnobi as well as Chinemerem Okechi.
Nwobilor and Okechi are from Osisioma on the outskirts of Aba where both the Aba Power Ltd and Geometric Power Ltd are located, while Nkangnobi hails from Ikom in Cross River State.
“Nnamdi Nwobilor was caught by young people from the area while vandalizing electricity distribution infrastructure in the industrial layout”, explained Geometric Power’s chief security officer who also stated that “Nkangnobi was caught in action by the eagle-eyed vigilante group in Umuahala village in Obehe, Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State when he was stealing the armoured cable of a distribution transformer in the place”.
Okechi was arrested by the youth in the Osisioma who got intelligence that he was planning to vandalize a distribution transformer in the area and began to watch him closely.
“There were attacks on 14 distribution transformers in June alone”, disclosed Regius Amaechi, the Geometric Power deputy chief security officer who is also a retired Deputy Commandant of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“Each attack caused tremendous hardship to businesses and individuals in the state, to say nothing about the fact that it cost Aba Power Limited millions of naira to fix”.
The vandals seem to target in particular the armoured cable and copper wire, among other critical components of a distribution transformer.
They sell the armoured cable, which is very expensive, to traders who deal in electricity parts as well as to communities, businesses and individuals in need of the part and to trinket makers who use it to produce things like earrings and spoons.
According to Air Commodore Orjiude, the vandals dispose of the stolen materials at ridiculously low prices.
“They can sell these critical components and materials for even five thousand naira when they are in desperate need of drugs like marijuana and crystal methamphetamine popularly known in the Southeast as mkpuru mmiri.
“They do not consider the acute hardship they inflict on our people, especially manufacturers who are forced to purchase diesel oil at almost N1000 per litre in order to run power generating sets in their factories”.