From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Two staff of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) in Kogi, James Olayemi and Lameed Obadaki have been arraigned before a Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court over alleged illegal and malicious disconnection of electricity supply.
Our Correspondent reports that the duo were arraigned on Tuesday at Chief Magistrate Court I, Lokoja, charged with conspiracy to commit felony punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code.
The offences are also 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 electric power sector reform (EPSR) Act 2005.
According to the prosecuting counsel, O.C. 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.
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 No 1, NIWA Quarters, Lokoja, Kogi State.
The Complaint Form read in part, “That you and others now at large on the 10th March, 2020 within the Magisterial District of this court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit 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.
Osanwuta said that after his house was razed down and property worth over N600 million lost to fire outbreak caused by alleged negligence of AEDC in 2014, without any compensation by the company, he erected another house in its place.
The NIWA Surveyor added that the new building was connected to the grid and the AEDC installed Maximum Demand meter without explanation, drawing a monthly bill of between N140,000 and N130,000 representing over 400 per cent of his former bills before the inferno
He said that bills were astronomical and outrageous and efforts to get the bill reviewed failed only for the the two defendants to come to his premises and disconnect his electricity supply without notice.
In his ruling the Chief Magistrate Tanko Mohammed said pursuant to section 35 (6) of the Constitution and Section 156 of the act and the fact that the prosecuting counsel did not oppose the bail application, he would use his discretion to grant bail to the defendants.
He therefore granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N100,000 with surety each in same amount. The surety, he said, must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 15 in the state civil service.
Mohammed adjourned the case to the 12th of August for hearing.