Though there is no war in Nigeria, the state of electricity supply is not different from what obtains in countries at war.
The efforts of the federal government and its agencies year in year out have failed to yield the desired result due to so many factors which include the menacing activities of the vandals whose stock in trade is to vandalise and sell the facilities for selfish reasons.
This act of vandalism, apart from portraying the country as being in covenant with darkness, has also rendered many industry and small scale enterprises comatose, thereby assuming the unenviable reputation of a cemetery for big businesses, particularly those in the real sector.
Their nefarious activities range from removal of copper cables in transformers and feeder pillars, to draining away oil from distribution transformers, as well as the stealing of aluminium conductors and other installations of companies.
The situation has become more worrisome now that the vandals have adopted a new dimension of removing transformer coils, something, hitherto, unheard of.
Going by this trend, Nigerians cannot continue to clamour for uninterrupted power supply from PHCN with such critical problems bedeviling the organisation unresolved.
It is against the backdrop of this persistent vandalism of facilities of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), that the House of Representatives recently mooted the idea of reintroducing Decree 20 of 1984 and the passage of the anti-vandalism bill, which recommends stiff penalties for vandals and energy thieves, into law.
According to the Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Hon. Patrick Ikhariale, the anti-vandalism bill has become necessary in view of the incessant reports of energy losses due to vandalism and theft of PHCN cables and transformers.
“The entire House is working assiduously towards passing the anti-vandalism bill into law. The committee, for instance, has been working tooth and nail to ensure that the bill encapsulates all that is required in it. We have been doing a thorough job so that the bill can successfully scale through the first, second and third readings for its final passage into law,” he said.
LEADERSHIP learnt that PHCN, Makurdi Business District, lost equipment worth over N400 million to unknown persons in the last four years.
In Benin City, Edo State, the vandals steal one component of PHCN facility on a daily basis, throwing people into perpetual darkness in the process.
Chief Omoike Igbinoba told LEADERSHIP that, “The major problem here is the continuous stealing of PHCN properties and facilities. A transformer you see in the evening can disappear before dawn. PHCN will tell the community to contribute money to buy new one. Even if you buy a new one, it will still disappear. Are spirits the ones buying the transformers? PHCN should do their home work well to spot this high profile stealing.”
John Emeruwa, a District Manager, regretted that PHCN facilities have become the target of vandals who are frustrating their efforts at ensuring steady power supply in the country.
He noted that apart from the losses incurred from the damage of its facilities, the vandalism of power installations also resulted in huge revenue loss for PHCN.