The Nigeria Police has disclosed that Nigeria has lost over N500m to electricity vandalism.
The Police explained that the amount lost is just an estimate of what was lost between January and September, 2017 by four States.
The IG who was represented by the Commissioner of Police in charge of Crime Prevention and Community Safety, CP Austin Iwar said: “We are all witnesses to how vandalism has impacted negatively on the development of our economy. Sometimes people in their living rooms get angry when there is power outage but the fact is, sometimes, it is caused by vandals who are fond of tampering with electricity installment.
“The increasing rate of vandalization of electricity installations across the country has not only become alarming but very frightening.
“On daily basis, wanton destruction of electricity infrastructure is recorded with monumental economic loss to the Nigerian economy. As a result of this deliberate economic sabotage, businesses have been disrupted, means of livelihood destroyed and the quantum loss of much needed government revenue, just to mention but a few”.
The Police chief further said: “Available Nigeria Police Crime Statistics reveals that from January, 2017 to date alone, there have been a whopping 233 cases of vandalization of electricity infrastructure in Abuja, Nasarawa, Kogi and Niger States, resulting in an estimated over N500million economic loss to the country.
“Even at that, these very disturbing statistics represents only the reported cases. In reality, the figures and losses could be worse”.
The IG also hinted that the squad would go into the market to fish out people who buy the vandalised products.
Also speaking, the Chairman Board of Directors of AEDC, Ambassador Shehu Malami, said continuous vandalism has hindered generation and distribution of electricity all over Nigeria.
He said: “It is pertinent for me to state that the rising incidence of vandalism of power equipment has become a major threat to efficient generation and distribution of electricity all over Nigeria.
“In fact, the vandals have not only put the operations of the power companies in jeopardy in recent times, but have also posed serious threats to speedy recovery of our Nation’s economy through various acts of sabotage on power infrastructures.”
Commenting on the effect of vandalism to the electricity sector, the Managing Director of AEDC, Engr. Ernest Mupwaya said over N195million was spent by AEDC to replace what was vandalised.
Lamenting the impact of vandalism, Mupwaya said: “In 2016, we had a total number of 89 cases of vandalism. However, the figure more than doubled in 2017. Between January and September 2017, 233 cases of vandalism have been reported within our franchise area. The total money spent in replacing the vandalised items is N195 627 211.50.
“This is without prejudice to the discomfort it has caused our customers, loss of revenue to and the reputational damage to AEDC and several other issues associated with vandalism.
“From records, the focus of the vandals is often the copper element in the cables, the oil in the transformer, insulators of different sizes etc.
“One obvious implication of this unfortunate situation is that progress is retarded because what ought to be used in acquiring new assets for the improvement of service to our customers is now diverted to the replacement of vandalised components”.