Two middle-aged men have been arrested by a combined team of Nigerian Police and the community’s vigilance group at Ozalla-Awada in Anambra State, for allegedly assaulting some field officers of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).
The culprits were Chinedu Anama and Uche Okpara.
The officials were said to be carrying out their legitimate duties which includes monitoring and disconnecting customers in the area during the attack.
They were said to be attacked while attempting to disconnect an illegal connection at No. 13 Onyekwere Street, Ozalla Obosi, a building with 12 flats, all installed with prepaid meters.
EEDC’s Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, in a statement yesterday condemned the development, stressing that assault on its officials has become a major challenge for the organisation.
Recounting the incident, Ezeh said tenants in the building tampered with their prepaid meters, which led to the disconnection by the EEDC surveillance team some months ago.
According to him, the occupants, instead of visiting EEDC office to resolve the issue, resorted to illegally reconnecting themselves and were enjoying electricity supply before the monitoring team working in that area discovered the illegal connection and disconnected them accordingly.
The team, he said, had already left the building to another location when some tenants from the disconnected building accosted them and launched an attack on four of them, leaving one of them, Ugochukwu Chukwunyerem, with severe cuts on his head.
He said Chukwunyere was immediately rushed to the hospital for medical attention, adding that “In the process, two mobile phones belonging to the EEDC officials got lost, while one was damaged.
The vehicle used by the team was not spared, as the carrier, door and front bumper was also destroyed.
“It is baffling that a customer will engage in meter bypass, illegal connection, or any form of energy theft, and when apprehended, would resist disconnection (which is usually the first step in investigating such case), and even go as far as inflicting bodily harm on people carrying out their legitimate function,” he added.
Ezeh confirmed that the culprits have been handed over to the police for further investigation and possible prosecution, and expressed optimism that management of EEDC would follow through the matter and ensure they face the full wrath of the law.