The Lagos State government has said that it will soon criminalise and punish anyone who engages in power theft and vandalism.
This decision was made known on Tuesday by the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo at a press briefing.
The commissioner said the state government was concerned that its efforts to light up Lagos was being threatened by the activities of vandals.
According to him, some infrastructure put in place to ensure the nooks and crannies of Lagos were lit were destroyed by hit and run motorist.
“We have noticed this vandalisation in three ways. The first one is that by weekends, between Friday and Sunday, we see a lot of vehicles knock down our electricity poles and we suffer the consequences.
“So, we make sure that each time we apprehend them we make them to pay fines because we cannot prosecute them under a law that is not existing, so the Embedded Power Programme would come with its own Power Theft Law and we would try to embed this street lighting protection under it, so until the law, we cannot prosecute them, we can only continue to fine them to pay for the street light poles they knock down,” Oluwo said.
The Commissioner also restated the commitment of the State Government to meet its electricity needs and ensure regular power supply not only for industrial clusters, but also to residents of the State.
The commissioner said in addition to powering public facilities with the its independent power plants, it would also encourage investment in the state with the generation of 3000MW of power through accelerated deployment of embedded or distributed power plants in strategic locations within three to five years.
This he said was with the intention of driving the economy and bringing additional electricity to millions of homes and businesses.
“The state government is therefore in partnership with major international and local industry key players in the power sector to provide a platform for uninterrupted power supply to its citizenry.
“The Lagos State Government, in collaboration with the private sector, is using the strength of its balance sheet to guarantee the deployment of off-grid modular plants of between 20MW to 100MW strategically spread within clusters close to reliable sustainable sources of electricity and power evacuation substation for the exclusive benefit of Lagos residents.
“Solar energy project is another initiative by the Lagos State Government, focused on implementing power solutions for public facilities. This project aims at delivering a total of 4.59 MV of sustainable power to rural, riverine and public boarding secondary schools, 172 of them and 11 primary health centres located within the rural areas in Ikorodu, Badagry, Epe and Ibeju-Lekki,” he said.
He said in the year under review, the Government through its “Light up Lagos” Initiative, achieved 500km of streetlight installations in its bid to light up the nooks and crannies of the State, while over 100km length of street lighting installations are on-going at various locations.