A magistrate court in Lokoja has sentenced a staff of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, James Olayemi, to six months in prison for unlawfully disconnecting a customer’s residence in Lokoja.
Olayemi also has an option of N50,000 fine.
Magistrate Tanko Muhammed also ordered immediate reconnection of electricity supply to the compound of Dennis Osanwuta.
Osanwuta a surveyor, sued Olayemi, a marketing officer, and the company’s regional manager Lammed Obadaki for damage to his property and unlawful disconnection of supply to his residence after he paid N370,000 in power bill for February.
His lawyer argued that the PHCN team on March 10 “maliciously and unlawfully disconnected 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.
He also argued the team conspired to disconnect supply in spite of the fact that Osanwuta did not default in payment.
Defence counsel had asked that the case be struck out over presumed inability of the prosecution to establish a prima facie case against the defendants.
The court absolved and acquitted Obadaki of complicity in criminal conspiracy.
It sentenced Olayemi for running contrary to Sections 5 and 11 of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission Connection and Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Services 2007 which grants consumers a maximum of 10 days for payment of electricity bill and three months before disconnection could be made after AEDC must formally have written to inform the customers of the impending disconnection.
“In view of evidence before me, the complainant has not be given such opportunity, therefore the first defendant is guilty as charged. I hereby sentence him to six months imprisonment with an option of N50,000 as fine,” he said.