Two days after two young men were arrested in Aba, Abia State, for vandalizing public electric power supply equipment, seven more youths have been apprehended for allegedly stealing distribution transformer components in the city and environs.
The four youths are Chinonso Okwudire, Alozie Uguru, Ikenna Ebere and Chinemerem Okechi. Others are Chibuike Nzeoji, Chidera Uche and Ibrahim Aliyu, according to Air Commodore Udeoji Ojiude (retired), the chief security officer of Geometric Power, which owns Aba Power Limited.
“The most notorious of them is Chinonso Okwudire, a 19-year old boy from Umuojima, Osisioma”, declared Air Commodore Ojiude to newsmen in Aba.
Okwudire was arrested while stealing sensitive and costly materials at the Umuode Substation of the Aba Power which is in Osisioma Industrial Layout.
The Geometric Power chief security officer revealed that the youth in the area had long known of Okwudire’s stealing of power distribution infrastructure like copper wire and armoured cable which he would sell at rock-bottom prices to electricity equipment traders and companies that need them.
“The youths had, therefore, been watching him closely, and when he was this time vandalizing the substation supplying power to even his own community they apprehended him, with his finger firmly in the cookie jar.”
It was understood that some of the youths were so incensed at what they called Okwudire’s callousness that they began to beat him mercilessly.
On hearing that a person was about to be lynched, the police at the Osisioma Police Division sent four of their men to rescue the thief but were overwhelmed by the increasing number of youths beating Okwudire thoroughly.
“Still, the police gallantly managed to save him,” said Air Commodore Ojiude.
“They will prosecute, not just Okwudire but also all six persons arrested in different parts of the state for vandalizing critical public utility assets.
“In addition, the police will prosecute two other thieves whose arrests had earlier been reported, namely, 20-year-old Desmond Nkanangnoi from Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State who was caught by the youth in Umuahala, Obehe in Ukwa West LGA while allegedly stealing parts of the transformer supplying power to the place, as well as 26-year-old Nnamdi Nwobilor from Mgboko in Okpu-Umuobe in Osisioma who was committing the same offence when he was apprehended.
“The police are working effectively with both Geometric Power and Aba Power to tame and soon end completely the incidence of stealing of critical infrastructure which supplies electricity to hospitals, laboratories, factories, offices and individuals in nine out of the 17 local government areas in Abia State.
“Aba and environs must regain their pride of place as the capital of indigenous technology and industrialization in Nigeria,” he said.