A Chief Magistrate in Kogi State, Tanko Muhammed, has sentenced a staff of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, James Olayemi, to six months in prison over unlawful disconnection of electricity supply to a customer’s house in Lokoja, the state capital.
Muhammed sentenced Olayemi to six months in prison and ordered the immediate reconnection of electricity supply to the compound of the complainant, Dennis Osawota, Daily Post reports.
Earlier, Osawota who is a retired staff of the National Inland Waterways Authority, had dragged Olayemi, the Marketing officer and the Regional Manager, Lamidi Obadaki to court over the damages done to his property and unlawful disconnection of electricity supply to his house after paying N370,000 as electricity bill in February.
The duo had allegedly committed the offence contrary to Regulations 5 and 11 of the 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.
According to the prosecution 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.
Aruwa noted that the defendants, on March 10, 2020, alongside others still at large, did “maliciously and unlawfully disconnect the electricity supply to metre with Account number 715718350 supplying electricity to the building being occupied by the complainant No 1, NIWA Quarters, Lokoja, Kogi State”.
The first information report FIR 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 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.”
Aruwa also submitted that the duo conspired to carry out disconnection of electricity supply to the premises of the complainant although he did not default in payment of his bills and described the act as unlawful.
He urged the court to take cognizance of Regulation 10(8) of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, Connection and Disconnection Procedures of Electricity Services, 2007.
In his judgment, Muhammed absolved the Regional Manager AEDC, Obadaki, the second defendant of any complicity on the two counts of charges of criminal conspiracy and unlawful disconnection of power supply to the defendant.
“In view of evidence before me, the complainant has not been given such opportunity, therefore the first defendant is guilty as charged. I hereby sentence him to six months imprisonment and an option of fine of N50,000”, he ruled.