Electricity cable, transformer theft to attract 10-year jail term

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If the Senate adopts the recommendations of its Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, the theft of electricity cable and transformer may attract 10-year jail term.

The committee also recommended a jail term of seven years or a fine of N2million or both if anyone connects or disconnects electric wire to, either the electricity meter or to the public power supply lines.

The 10-year jail term is without an option of fine for offenders.

The committee, which submitted its report last Thursday, recommended a jail term of 10 years, without an option of fine, if someone is found guilty to have conspired, counselled or accepted to procure or to hold in custody, stolen parts, components or pieces of public power equipment.

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The Chairman of the committee, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), listed the power equipment to include electric cable, transformer, high tension wire, power console, electrical insulators, among others.

The committee also recommended that any person who wilfully and/or unlawfully “destroys, damages or removes any electricity distribution lines or anything connected therewith, or otherwise prevents or obstructs the distribution of electricity through the distribution, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N5,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of at least five years or both.

According to the committee, those found guilty of using a tampered meter, current reversing transformer, shorting or shunting wire, loop connection, by-passing a meter, or deploy any other device or method to use public electricity should also be jailed for seven years or pay a fine of N2 million.

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The Power Committee report, which may be considered this week, also said anyone who tampers with, cuts by any means, or causes any other person to disrupt the supply of public electric power, if convicted, shall be sentenced to imprisonment term of not less than five years or a fine of N500,000, or both.

The committee asked the Senate to consider and pass the Bill for an Act to amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act No. 6,2005 to prohibit theft of electricity, theft and destruction of electricity supply, infrastructure and prescribe appropriate penalties for violations, and for other related matters, 2019(SB.496).

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It said the Senate should approve a five-year jail term or a fine of N500,000 for any person that obstructs, confronts, fights, assaults or causes bodily injury to power company personnel.

The committee recommended a three-year imprisonment term or a fine of N250,000, or both for any person who taps, makes or causes to be made any connection with overhead, underground, or under water lines or cables, or service wires or service facilities.

It said: “Any person, who wilfully destroys, injures or removes equipment or apparatus of a licensee commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period of not less than five years and not more than seven years.”

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