Disco worker jailed six months for illegal disconnection in Kogi
A Kogi State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Lokoja, on Thursday, sentenced a Marketing Officer of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Mr James Olayemi, to six months’ imprisonment for unlawful disconnection of electricity supply to a customer’s house.
Chief Magistrate Tanko Muhammed jailed Olayemi and ordered the immediate reconnection of electricity supply to Mr Dennis Osanwuta’s house.
Osanwuta, a retired top management employee of the National Inland Waterways Authority, had dragged Olayemi and the Regional Manager, AEDC, Lameed Obadaki, to court for the damage to his property and unlawful disconnection of electricity supply to his house even after the payment of N370,000 for February 2020.
The prosecution counsel, O. C. King, who was represented by Emeje Aruwa, said the case 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.
According to him, the defendants had on March 10, 2020, along with others still at large, “maliciously and unlawfully disconnected electricity supply to the electricity meter with account number 715718350 supplying electricity to the building being occupied by the complainant at No. 1 NIWA Quarters, Lokoja, Kogi State.”
Aruwa also submitted that the duo disconnected electricity supply to the premises of the plaintiff in spite of the fact that he did not default in the payment of his bills and described the act as unlawful.
He urged the court to take cognizance of Regulation 10(8) of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Connection and Disconnection Procedures of Electricity Services, 2007.
However, Ocheja urged the court to determine whether the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the defendants to warrant it to compel them to enter their defence.
Ocheja urged the court to strike out the case over the inability of the prosecution to establish a prima facie case against the defendants by linking them to the alleged offences.
In his judgment, Tanko absolved Obadaki of any complicity on the two counts of criminal conspiracy and unlawful disconnection of power supply.
He, therefore, discharged and acquitted Obadaki, stressing that from the evidence before him, there was no link between the regional manager and the criminal activities of the marketing officer.
Tanko sentenced Olayemi for acting contrary to sections 5 and 11 of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission Connection and Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Services, 2007, an offence punishable under Section 94 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
According to him, the provision of Section 5 states that electricity consumers must be given a maximum of 10 days for the payment of electricity bills and three months before disconnection can be made after the power firm must have formally written to inform the consumers of the impending disconnection.
“In view of the evidence before me, the complainant was not given such an opportunity; therefore, the first defendant is guilty as charged. I hereby sentence him to six months’ imprisonment with an option of N50,000 fine,” the chief magistrate added.