Social amenities such as power generation, pipe borne water, telephone services and other utility installations are services which make life pleasant for the citizenry. The absence in the country is a serious matter in the social life of modern men. This accounts for the product management of establishment that handles these services in countries where of the citizenry is a priority.
Here in Nigeria, it is difficult to fathom what position these services occupy in its scale of preference going by the epileptic manner in which they are rendered.
Vandalization and outright theft of public property here become the role rather than exception. The sad fact is that NEPA whose services are so crucial to the nation, is the most susceptible attacks from saboteurs. Its network of cables and other materials for electricity generation and distribution are basically over ground and are spread throughout the country making it not protected in most cases. As a result daring thieves strict anytime to sabotage electricity cables, circuits breakers, nuts, bolts, angle irons of transmission towers.
The national electric power, authority (NEPA) which is an establishment that handles the services of power generation, transmission, distribution and sales be briefly said its origin. Electricity power generation development in Nigeria started towards the closing year of the last century when the first generating plant was installed in the city of Lagos in 1898. From this date onwards and until 1950, the pattern of electricity development was in the form of individual electricity undertaking set-up at various towns, some of them by the federal government under the jurisdiction of the public works department and some by the native authority and one or two large municipal authorities.
In 1950, in order to integrate power development and make it effectives, the government passed the electricity corporation of Nigeria ordinance No 15 of 1950. This ordinance brought under one control the electricity undertaking section of the public works department and all these undertakings which were under native authority or municipal ownership and control.
The electricity corporation of Nigeria usually referred to as “ECN” then become the statutory body responsible for generation transmission, distribution and sales of electricity to all consumers in Nigeria.
The Niger Denis Authority was established by an Act of parliament in 1962. The authority was responsible for the construction and maintenance of dams and other on the River Nile and elsewhere, generating electricity by means of water power construction of the Kainji Dam which began March 1964 was on schedule in December 1968.
In September, 1969 the federal military government decided to merge the electricity corporation of Nigeria, and Niger Dams Authority into a simple body. A year later, a Canadian firm of consultants “Shavno limited” was appointed to look into the technical details of the merger. The report was submitted in November 1971.
By decree N0 24 of 29th June, 1972 (Which become effective on 1st April 1972) the electricity corporation of Nigeria (ECN) and Nigeria Dams Authority (NDA) were merged to become the national electric power authority (NEPA). The actual merger did not take place until 6th January, 1973 when a general manager was appointed. The decree stimulated that the authority is to develop and maintain an efficient co-coordinated and economical system of electricity supply for all part of the federation.
The affairs of the authority is min by mines members board whose members and chairman are appointed by the federal military government through the federal ministry of mines and power. The board is to lay down the policy of the authority and the chief executive sees to it that all decision of the board are efficiently executed.
The day to day managing of affairs lies in the hands of the general manager. It presents his activities are grouped under six functional divisions such headed by an assistant general manager. The divisions are administration, engineering commercial, operation and finance.
The Enugu district of the authority which is the researcher case study is headed by a district manager.
Other sub-divisional heads include senior manager distribution, senior manager sales, senior manager accounts and senior manager administration.
The origin of the subject area in this project is NEPA District Enugu. Mr. Joseph Ogbonna Assistant General Manager transmission said “our fear is that when it starts raining throughout the country more towers which have been stripped naked by those vandals may start collapsing and that would signal the commencement of a long period of darkness”.
The fear is real as the minister for mines, power and steel said during an interview with Soji Akiarinade, Newswatch General Editor, on the vandalisation of NEPA installations. He said “in all honesty it can happen, because if those vandals continue to vandalise NEPA property, we will definitely one day wake up and find ourselves in total darkness.
Who are those responsible for the acts of sabotage? That is the question that has been begging for an answer. Even though there is the belief that thieves who are looking for quick money are people mostly involved.
Many people question that line of argument and say that vandalization of NEPA property has become so easy and so frequent because some officials of the authority must be in collusion with vandals however, when people claimed to be NEPA officials were allowed by communities to remove transforms in some part of the country.
In another development, the people of Ibagwa-Ani, a village in Nsukka Local Government Area, were not so lucky when six men drove into the village in an open back truck. The report said that these men were overall marked rural electricity board (REB) the same used by the board. Since electricity supply to the village was yet to be commissioned, the people though that their prayers had been answered. However, the men told the villagers that their electricity transformer was bad and had to be repaired at Enugu. The village head was notified and asked to send some men to help load the bulky staff into their truck and the request was granted.
It was gathered that one Mr. chukwuma Idoka who was at the village square that day told the reporter that after the transformers was loaded the track, the villagers organized a feast for the six man, for their hospitality, the visitors promised to the return the transformer in a week time. The villagers of Ibagwa-Ani are still waiting for the transformer to be returned.
In a related story, the minister now the secretary for mines, power and steel retired Air vice Marshal Nuralman answering questions on his assessment of the attitude of Nigeria towards public property, especially NEPA installation stated that the generating stations of NEPA, which are the source of power to this nation are all sited very far away from consumers. That this generated power is carried under nations grid via 330kv and 132kv lines transmitted through large jungles in many places and unprotected areas, based on his explanation, everything that is possible to protect this vandalism has been done yet it occurs over and over again. He suggested a punitive measure like life jail sentence should be rented to the vandals to serve as a detriment to others bent on continuing this terrible act.
In Daily Times of 3rd January 1995 page 7 by Engr. O.I. Kagbo according to the news source, the vandals had deliberately caused a fault in the system which caused a loss of power supply. The victim had tried to take advantage of the safety of power outage to steal the equipment, unfortunately, for him NEPA officials on duty quickly reclosed the circuit definitely he was electrocuted.
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