Three Arrested In Enugu State For Assaulting EEDC Staff On Official Duties

No fewer than three residents of Enugu State have been arrested and handed over to the police for assaulting Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) staff on official duties in the state.

The Head, Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr Emeka Ezeh, told newsmen in Enugu on Sunday that the company decried the rate at which some customers boldly engage in energy theft without paying for energy consumed.

Ezeh said that these unscrupulous customers, who were arrested on Friday, Nov. 18, still had the temerity to not only resist disconnection but go as far as attacking innocent EEDC staff carrying out their legitimate duties.

According to him, at Ibagwa Town Hall area of Abakpa Nike, Ifeanyi Ezeugwu and Daniel Okafor descended on EEDC staff, beat them up and inflicted bodily harm on them when they discovered that their house had been disconnected.

Ezeh said that the building in question had been on supply over the years without any bill or proof of payment, and to make matters worse, they extended supply to another building which also does not have bill or proof of payment.

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“When EEDC officials visited the premises, the occupants claimed they had a prepaid meter, an indication that they should not be disturbed with disconnection.

“But out of curiosity, EEDC staff carefully inspected the building and discovered there was no prepaid meter, and then requested for evidence of payment, which was not provided.

“It was then they carried out the disconnection, and as was customary, they were about handing over the disconnection notice to them when Ezeugwu and Okafor, who are occupants, challenged and descended mercilessly on the two EEDC officials.

“In the same vein, on Nov. 18, Obinna Amuruche attacked staff of EEDC on duty at Imeama Iwollo in Ezeagu council area as they arrived at his compound to carry out disconnection because he has not paid his bill and has huge arrears.

“He resisted disconnection, ran into his shrine, and brought out a knife to attack the EEDC staff before he was apprehended by the police,” he said.

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He said that attacks on our field staff was becoming a regular occurrence, adding that the company would not sit back and watch this continue as “we shall make sure that perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted accordingly”.

Ezeh noted that the attack on its staff ranges from beating, dragging them down from the ladder, seizing of ladders, releasing of dogs on them, locking them up and keeping them hostage and damaging of the work vehicle, among others.

“I cannot comprehend how someone will be stealing energy and when discovered and disconnected, rather than show remorse, would resort to assaulting people doing their job, forcing them to reconnect their supply,” Ezeh lamented.

The EEDC spokesman recounted that nonpayment of energy bills and energy theft had been a major challenge to the day-to-day running of the company’s business, and that had constituted a huge commercial loss being experienced currently.

“EEDC appeals to customers to see the payment of energy bills as their obligation, and that is the only way the power sector can be efficient and sustainable,” he added.

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It would be recalled that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), which is a body set-up by the Federal Government to regulate the activities of electricity distribution companies, had provided a complaint/redress mechanism for the resolution of all customer issues.

It is therefore expected that aggrieved customers should use this NERC channel to register their grievances and complaints, rather than taking laws into their hands.