The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) has described as cheap blackmail, a viral video where Chief Uwazurike, leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), alleged that his staff were abducted by the company.
Uwazurike also alleged that EEDC was being used by the state to get at him.
In a reaction, the EEDC said it was a private, non-political, and non-partisan business enterprise, saddled with the responsibility of distributing electricity across the five South East states.
EEDC said it had suffered high prevalence of energy theft, meter bypass and other electricity infractions within the network and that the ugly trend had consistently and negatively impacted its output and revenue.
This according to the company, prompted the Federal Government to set up a task force known as Special Investigation and Prosecution Task Force on Electricity Offenders (SIPTEO).
“The responsibility of this task force which comprises the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Nigerian Police is to arrest and prosecute electricity customers that engage in electricity frauds,” it said.
The company said recently, a hostel facility located at Ngor-Okpala community, Imo State which belonged to Chief Uwazurike, was found to have engaged in electricity infraction.
This it said was discovered by the SIPTEO team on operation in Imo State, which disconnected the facility and an arrest was made by the task force for questioning that could help investigation.
The company said the arrested staff had been released.
It said the same facility had engaged in meter bypass some months back, indicating clearly that it was notorious for energy theft and electricity infraction.
“It is therefore important to state clearly that the incident at the hostel facility was strictly operational and had nothing to do with the person of Chief Uwazurike.
“We therefore reiterate that EEDC has nothing personal against Chief Uwazurike and does not have the power to arrest or detain any electricity offender.
“The arrest was carried out by SIPTEO, the special task force saddled with that responsibility.
“It will be appreciated if issues are dealt with objectively, without resorting to cheap blackmail, misinforming the public to whip up sentiments and portray EEDC in a negative and bad light,” it stated.
EEDC said was a responsible corporate organisation operating within the set guidelines as instituted by its Regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
It appealed to its numerous customers to desist from any activity that could undermine the efforts being made by EEDC to consistently improve its network operations and provide quality services to them.
“EEDC loses an average of about 40% of its revenue monthly to illegal activities, ranging from energy theft, meter bypass, illegal connection, unauthorised access to the network and vandalism.
“We will stop at nothing to see that anyone or group found to be engaging in such a criminal act is prosecuted.
“EEDC remains committed to providing its customers with quality and reliable services, and this can only be achieved with the support of customers,” it said.