The Federal government on Wednesday said theft and vandalism of electricity facilities are responsible for the poor delivery of electricity in the South East part of the country.
Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF), Etsu Mohammed, who stated this lamented that the development which has adversely affected the economic development of the country has gone unchecked for years.
The DPPF was speaking at the inauguration of the Enugu zone of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Taskforce on Electricity Offences (SIPTEO).
Mohammed disclosed that the special taskforce which was first inaugurated in 2017 in Abuja, under the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 and other Regulations, empowers the taskforce to investigate, arrest and prosecute cases of theft, vandalism as well as recovery of lost revenue.
“The growing theft of electricity and vandalism of electricity distribution assets in the area of coverage of the EEDC has contributed immensely to the economic challenges that the power sector has faced over time in the South East Zone, thus affecting effective delivery to legitimate customers”, he said.
Mohammed expressed hope that with the inauguration of the Enugu Taskforce, there is hope for a better and more efficient services in the area.
He therefore charged the members to put in their best in tackling the menace, which according to him is responsible for some of the challenges faced in the power sector in the area.
“Your job from today is to work assiduously in collaboration with Enugu Electricity Distribution Company to inveatigate and prosecute all cases of electricity theft within the area of coverage of the EEDC”, he said.
“Bear in mind that the overall objective of your mandate is to prevent electricity theft, prosecute cases and recover lost revenue.
“I am convinced that your commitment in carrying out this assignment will not only bring to book the offenders, it will boost power supply and economic activities within the area of coverage of the EEDC and eventually the work of the taskforce will spread nationwide “, he added.
Earlier, Chairman, EEDC, Emeka Offor said, it is about time electricity theft be taken seriously and offenders brought to book.
While commending the Federal government for the bold step in tackling the issue, he lamented that it is only in Nigeria you find well to do individuals and professionals engaged in energy theft.
Similarly, Managing Director, EEDC, Paul Okeke, who noted that government oficials are involved in energy theft, stressed that the issue is endemic in the South East, adding that with the inauguration of the team, incidents of theft and vandalism would be greatly reduced.