Communities across the country have been battling theft of electricity power distribution appliances in major cities.
Of recent, several communities have been forced to live in darkness as hoodlums invade power distribution installations, stealing cables and other important components of electricity transformers.
Early this year, the underground cable servicing over eight streets in Ekoro community, in Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos State, were removed overnight, plunging the area into darkness for two weeks before a new one was purchased through contributions at the rate of N150, 000. Many other streets in the area also suffered the same fate, few weeks after the incident.
In July, residents of Agbado/Crossing in Ifo Local Government, Ogun State, woke up to see that the transformer serving over 10 streets had been ripped opened. After proper scrutiny, the cable and other important parts were removed, before the necessary authorities gave them placement after a week.
Sometime in May, residents of Peter Agha Street and the adjoining streets in Oke Afa area of Lagos, woke up one morning to discover theft of their underground cables, attached to an electricity transformer serving the entire community. This resulted in zero power supply for the area for three months, before the Ikeja Distribution Company and the Landlords’ Association came together to fashion out solution to replace the stolen cable and forestall a reoccurrence.
According to a prominent member of the Landlords’ Association, Elder Akin Kolade, the group believed the theft to be the handiwork of miscreants and crooked electricity-engineering officials. He however, admitted that the association did not suspect any particular person.
He revealed that with the intervention of the association, the Ikeja Disco was able to replace the vandalised cables for the community, noting that they levied each house N7, 000 for the project and spent a little over N400, 000 to secure the installation and engage guards for future protection.
Sometime last year, residents of Arigbajo, Ogun State, experienced what could be termed serial theft, as three transformers positioned in outskirts of the community were badly tampered with, carting away their cables and other essential parts.
Each of the houses in the community was forced to cough out a stipulated amount of money to ensure replacement, after weeks in darkness.
Similar cases abound in different parts of the country that are not reported. While some have been able to fix theirs through communal efforts, others are since then living in darkness as the concerned authorities have left them to cope with their fate.
But one critical question bothering the minds of residents of the affected areas is if an ordinary person can dare steal cables and essential items, considering the danger involved in such high voltage items.
A community leader in Agbado area, Chief Amos Olawoye, told The Guardian that officials of electricity distribution companies should be held responsible for the heinous act.
“Nobody can dare steal apparatus attached to electricity transformers without people who have deep knowledge of how they were installed. Looking for transformer robbers should not be difficult, they should look inwards, especially officials serving the particular area where the theft was perpetrated,” he said.
He disclosed that whenever such occurrence happens, it is the responsibility of electricity distribution companies to replace them, noting that its due to the issue of ‘Nigeria Factor’, that makes it the responsibility of electricity consumers.
On his part, member of the Oke Afa Landlords’ Association, Kolade, said to prevent a reoccurrence of the evil act, the association took steps to secure the transformers by erecting a fence and employing guards to keep watch over the installation for the community.
Source: Independent Watch Initiative