** Guard killed, nine arrested
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Six transmission towers belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) have been destroyed in the last three months, disrupting power supply and costing billions of naira in repairs, the company said yesterday.
A statement by a Media Adviser to the company, Adesanya Adejokun, noted that the 'unrelenting' attacks on the power infrastructure by economic saboteurs was leading to the inability of Nigerians to access adequate electricity for economic growth and prosperity.
In recent times, the statement said several projects being embarked upon by the NDPHC had been attacked and contractors either killed or maimed by attackers.
The power company stated that on September 3, 2022, some miscreants attacked and vandalised the 330kV DC Afam - Onne Transmission Line in Gbake community of Ogoniland, River State.
According to the statement, the vandals cut down four transmission towers (T19, T20, T21 and T22), dismantled them and carted them away.
Again, on October 10, 2022, it stated that the vandals attacked and destroyed two additional towers on the same 330kV DC Afam - Onne Transmission Line.
However, during a third attempt luck, NDPHC stated that luck ran out on them as efforts of vigilante members, buoyed by security operatives paid off, resulting in the arrest of nine of the miscreants. "They have since been charged to court to face the full wrath of the law," the company stated.
In addition, during a routine patrol in the night of November 25, 2022, it noted that vigilance groups again encountered vandals along the same Afam-Onne 330kV DC Transmission Line.
The security men, it said, called for military reinforcement, but noted however that before help came, one of the guards was shot and later died.
"Incidentally, this line connecting Afam to Onne in Port Harcourt is the first 330kV double circuit transmission supply line to the capital of Rivers state.
"The persistent attacks on the line have caused substantial damage to the transmission line project and it will take huge sums of money to effect needed reconstruction and repairs in addition to resultant delays on delivery time," NDPHC added.
It quoted the Executive Director, Corporate Services at NDPHC, Nkechi Mba, to have commiserated with the deceased guard's family promising that the company will support them in their moment of grief.
"The company is grateful for his gallantry in the line of duty and we hereby pledge support for his family in this moment of great sorrow. We will be relentless in hunting these vandals down, particularly those who assassinated the young man," the ED noted.
She added: "The necessity of reinforcing the message of communal ownership of critical infrastructure cannot be over-emphasised. The infrastructure that governments develop is done with taxpayers' money and is therefore owned by the people."
She appealed to members of the public to regard public infrastructure a commonwealth and strive to jointly always protect it.
Mba expressed gratitude to law enforcement agents for their continuous support in trying to engage and deter economic criminals who vandalise NDPHC assets, saying the company will ensure that anyone caught vandalising its assets will be made to face legal the law.