Court indicts DisCo for illegal disconnection in Lokoja
A Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court has ruled that the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Lokoja Area Office, has case to answer in the illegal disconnection suit by a customer.
The Chief Magistrate, Dr. Mohammed Tanko, gave the ruling against the “No case submission” suit filed by counsel to AEDC. Dennis Osanwuta, a management staff member of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Lokoja, Kogi State, instituted the suit against James Olayemi and Lameed Obadaki, both employees of AEDC.
They were charged with criminal conspiracy, contrary to Section 97 of the Penal Code, and unlawful disconnection contrary to Sections 5 and 11 of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)’s Connection and Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Services, 2007.
They were alleged to have on March 10, 2020, unlawfully disconnected electricity supply to Metre number 715718350 supplying power to Osanwata’s premises in NIWA Quarters, Lokoja.
Counsel to the defendants urged the court to strike out the case for presumed inability of the plaintiffs to establish a prima facie case against the defendants to link them with the allegation.
But the plaintiffs’ counsel, Emeje Aruwa, submitted that the duo conspired to disconnect electricity supply to the premises of his client, despite that he did not default in payment of his bills.
Aruwa posited that the law required a minimum of three months’ notice from the defendants in line with the provision of electricity services law of 2007.
In his ruling, Tanko said the defendants were brought to court vide direct criminal complaint pursuant to Section 87(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Kogi State 2017.
He held that the plaintiffs had established a prima facie case against the defendants, saying that the disconnection was done in defiance of an existing agreement with the AEDC.
“You, thereby, committed an offence contrary to Regulations 5 and 11 of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Connection and Disconnection Provision for Electricity Services, 2007 and also punishable under section 94 of the Electricity Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005,” he ruled.