The police and community vigilance group have arrested two middle-aged men at Ozalla-Awada in Anambra over assault on some field officers of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) who carrying out their legitimate duties.
The Head, Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, said in a statement on Monday that the suspects were arrested on Aug. 27.
He noted that the officials were monitoring disconnected customers in parts of Ogidi community near Onitsha in Anambra on Aug. 25 when they discovered an illegal connection at 13, Onyekwere Street, Ozalla-Awada, a 12-flat building with prepaid meters.
The EEDC spokesman said that it was also discovered that the tenants in the building tampered with their prepaid meters, which led to disconnection of the house by the EEDC surveillance team some months ago.
He said that 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 discovered the illegal connection and disconnected them accordingly.
According to him, the team had left the building to another location when some tenants from the disconnected building accosted them and launched an attack on four of them.
He said: “This attack left one of the four EEDC field officers, Mr Ugochukwu Chukwunyerem, with severe cuts on his head. He was immediately rushed to the hospital for medical attention.
“In the process, two mobile phones belonging to the EEDC officials went missing, while one was damaged. The vehicle used by the team was not spared, as the carrier, door and front bumper were also destroyed”.
He said that it was baffling that a customer would engage in meter bypass, illegal connection, or any form of energy theft, and when apprehended would resist disconnection, usually the first step in investigating such case.
The EEDC spokesman noted that it was even more worrisome to go as far as inflicting bodily injuries on people carrying out their legitimate duties.
He said: “The management of EEDC frowns at these actions and will not hesitate in ensuring that the law takes its course.
“We value our staff and are concerned about their safety, especially when they are carrying out their lawful duties, and we are ever ready to protect them and prosecute anyone or group that assaults them”.
He said that the culprits had been handed over to the police for investigation and prosecution, while the management of EEDC would follow through the matter and ensure they face the full wrath of the law.
Ezeh recounted that in August 2019 two officials of EEDC were assaulted at Umunya, under its Ogidi District in Anambra.
“In March this year, one of its officials was attacked by a customer at Umudike, under its Umuahia District in Abia, inflicting a serious machete cut on his hand,” he added. (NAN)