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Court sentences Electricity staff to prison over unlawful disconnection

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A magistrate court sitting in Lokoja has sentenced a staff of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Company (AEDC), Mr James Olayemi, to six months imprisonment with an option of N50,000 fine for unlawful disconnection of electricity supply to a customer’s house in Lokoja, the state capital.

The Chief Magistrate, Tanko Muhammed, on Thursday, August 12, 2021, sentenced the first defendant, James Olayemi, to six months imprisonment and ordered for the reconnection of electricity supply to the compound of Mr Dennis Osawota with immediate effect.

The complainant, Mr Dennis Osawota, who is a retired top Management staff of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) had dragged Mr James Olayemi the Marketing officer and the Regional Manager, Lamidi Obadaki over the damages done to his property and unlawful disconnection of electricity supply to his house even after payment N370,000 for February bill and still went on to cut the supply to the house.

The duo had allegedly committed offences contrary to Regulations 5 and 11 of the Nigeria Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Connection And Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Services 2007 and punishable under Section 94 of the electric power sector reform (EPSR) Act 2005.

The prosecution counsel, O.C. Higher King Esq, who was represented by Emeje Aruwa Esq, the private prosecution was brought pursuant to sections 86, 87, 88, 107 (a), (e), 108(1) (c), 111, 112 and 113 of the Kogi State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2017, by Surveyor Dennis Osanwuta.

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According to the prosecution, the defendants, on March 10, 2020, along with others still at large, did “maliciously and unlawfully disconnect electricity supply to electricity metre with Account number 715718350 supplying electricity to the building being occupied by the complainant at No 1, NIWA Quarters, Lokoja, Kogi State.

The first information report FIR read in part, “That you and others now at large on March 10, 2020 within the Magisterial District of this court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit a felony. “To wit: Unlawful disconnection of electricity supply and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 97 of the Penal Code, Laws of Kogi State.

Higher King also submitted that the duo did conspire to carry out disconnection of electricity supply to the premises of the complainant in spite of the fact that he did not default in payment of his bills and described the act as unlawful.

Prosecution Counsel, Higher King Esq urged the court to take cognizance of Regulation 10(8) of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, Connection and Disconnection Procedures of Electricity Services, 2007.

However, the Counsel to the defendants, C.P. Ocheja Esq raised a no case submition at the close of Prosecution case and urged the court to determine whether the prosecution had made out a prima facie case against the defendants to warrant the court compelling them to enter their defence.

Source: Africa Update Newspaper

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