The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, has said about 1,200 customers of the company within Osun Region had been arrested in the last six months for energy theft related offences.
Speaking with journalists in Osogbo on Friday, the IBEDC Senior Communication Officer, Osun Region, Kike Owoeye, who said the company would sustain its clampdown on energy theft, described the act as economic sabotage that should be avoided by patriotic Nigerians.
According to her, many of those arrested were arraigned and fined by courts, while some other cases of energy theft were still ongoing in different courts in the state.
“In the last six months, in collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, we have been able to apprehend about 1200 energy theft suspects.
“Some of them were paraded, some have paid their fines while some cases are still going on in court. We discovered that there is a different nature of energy theft and it includes meter bypassing, illegal connection and it is a way of suppressing the amount of money that they are supposed to pay to get the energy and it is an economic sabotage which is punishable by law.
“We are appealing to our customers to desist from that act because it is killing the business. So, we are trying as much as possible to curb it. In the process of stealing energy, the culprits might cause a fire or electrocution.”
Meanwhile, Osun State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Sunday Agboola, on Friday paraded 5 residents of Ota Efun Area of Osogbo, Osun State, arrested for energy theft.
Agboola, while presenting the suspects before journalists at the Command’s headquarters, explained that the suspects, Eniola Abidoye, Isiaka Ajibola, Muideen Omobolarinwa, Olusegun Owolabi and Taiwo Oyeniran, were picked up on Thursday during NSCDC’s joint operation with officials of IBEDC.
The NSCDC boss who urged members of the public to support the Corps regarding its core mandate of protecting national assets, by providing information could curb activities of vandals, added that the suspects owned up to the crime in their statements.
He said they would be arraigned before court after investigation had been concluded.