No fewer than 18 suspects were apprehended by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) for vandalising electricity installations in the South-East region.
The arrest was carried out in collaboration with the vigilante groups, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), police and the army in the last one month.
The Head of EEDC Communications, Mr Emeka Ezeh, said in a statement on Saturday in Enugu that one of the 18 suspected vandals had been sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Ezeh said that those apprehended had been handed over to the police for further investigation and prosecution.
The EEDC communication boss said that the suspects were arrested in its franchise areas of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States.
“Just recently, five men identified as Chinedu Anike; Emenike Okoye; Chidera Nweke; Chukwu Onyekachi and Emmanuel Mathew were apprehended for vandalising a distribution substation, property of EEDC, located in Awgu, Enugu State.
“The five suspects, who confessed to committing the crime, have been transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department in Police Command in Enugu State.
“In a related development, Onyedika Dike and Echezona Obisike were arrested by men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for vandalising EEDC distribution substation at Uhualla Osina Community in Orlu, Imo State.
“Also, Izuchukwu Ibe and Kingsley Ugochukwu were behind the vandalised EEDC distribution substation located at Umuzeike, Orlu, Imo State.
“Similarly, the duo of John Mary Anakor and Kosarachi Anagworo, who hail from Oji River and Nsukka respectively were arrested for attacking EEDC substation at Eke Junction in Udi LGA.
“At the Quarry area of Umuoghara in Ezza North LGA of Ebonyi State, Chukwuka Oken and Monday Otubo were arrested for vandalising a 500KVA distribution substation belonging to EEDC.
“While a four-man gang was arrested by members of Elugwu Community of Bende LGA, Abia for vandalising a transformer at Ndielu in Ugwueke.
“The suspects: Favour Ukala, Jude Chimezie, Uchegbu James Nwobodo and Elija Okpara were taken to Uzuakoli Police Division for investigation and prosecution,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Bende, Abia had on Aug. 9, sentenced Mr Onuorah Godswill, a native of Okoko Item community in Bende LGA to three years imprisonment, without an option of fine.
Onuorah, who pleaded guilty to a one count charge of stealing, was arrested by some natives for vandalizing bare conductor wire, property of EEDC along Veterinary road in the community.