Efforts by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) Plc to curb the menace of vandalism on its network have again received a boost with the sentencing of one David James to three years imprisonment by a Benin Magistrate Court 6 in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.
The accused was sentenced to prison on a two-count charge of stealing armoured cable and three transformer bushes spindles both valued at nearly N500, 000.
The judgment was delivered by Mrs. E.A Aghedo at Egor Magistrate court on January 7, 2020, after the accused pleaded guilty to the charges.
The offence was contained in the charge sheet No MSG/005c/2020 titled: Commissioner of Police vs. David James. The vandal, a male, 26, was sentenced without an option of fine.
James reportedly committed the offence on December 22, 2019, at along Upper Ekewan road in Benin-city in Egor Magisterial district, a crime punishable under section 390 (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 48 volume II Laws of Edo State.
The accused was caught by residents of Bedekeme Street in Obaji off Ugbiyoko quarters who alleged during an interview conducted by a television station in Benin-city that they had been thrown into darkness due to the activity of vandals at different times.
The accused, who confessed to committing the crime, said he wanted to sell the vandalised items before he was arrested by men of the Nigerian Police Force, Evbuotubu Division in Benin-city.
In a confessional statement given to the police, James, who said he was not a first time offender, said the vandalised items were usually sold to dealers in scrap items, and that he has been to prison before on account of vandalism.
The accused also confessed to have served a jail term of one year and six months at the Benin Correctional Service centre for vandalism in 2005, adding that he is a driver and a builder.
Vandalism of electricity distribution network and other forms of electrical thefts are serious threats to the power sector sustainability and economic growth, and have been major acts negatively affecting service delivery to customers. Revenue that could be used for critical development projects are being used to restore damaged and stolen installation, the BEDC officials said.