Kaduna/Kano DISCOs Partner NJI To End Electricity Crimes


    By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna

    The Administrator of National Judicial Institute, Honourable Justice
    R. P. I. Bozimo has implored judges of both the Federal and States
    High Courts to be proactive and expeditious in handling cases relating
    to electricity crimes, giving the decisive role the power sector plays
    in the nation’s socio-economic development.
    The legal luminary made the assertion in Kaduna on Saturday while
    declaring open, a one day interaction/interface for Judges of both the
    Federal and states High Courts of North-western States titled
    “Enhanced power delivery by Kaduna/Kano electricity Distribution
    Companies: Jurisprudential challenges and panacea, organized by Kaduna
    and Kano Electricity Distribution Companies in collaboration with the
    National Judicial Institute.
    Justice Bozimo identified “vandalism, energy theft and sometimes
    unauthorized access to electricity facilities as the common issues
    that pose threat to effective electricity distribution in the Country”
    and pledged “the readiness of the judiciary to sustain the partnership
    with the Discos and other critical stakeholders in order to stamp out
    acts that are capable of frustrating effective disposition of
    electricity related cases”.
    In a goodwill message, the immediate past Chief Judge of the Federal
    High Court, Justice Ibrahim N. Auta called for “concerted efforts by
    all stakeholders to discourage and punish perpetrators of vandalism of
    supply infrastructure and illegal connection, if stable power is to be
    guaranteed by the Distribution Companies.”
    According to him, “destruction of power network stifles development
    and illegal connection undermines and compromises the commercial
    components of the liberalized power sector as codified in the Electric
    Power Sector Reform Act, ESPRA 2005. Our Judges are invited to note
    that power deficits are monumentally catastrophic to economic growth
    and poverty alleviation in Nigeria”.
    An erstwhile Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory
    Commission, Dr. Sam Amadi who chaired one the sessions, identified
    “modelling challenges and the highly ambitious expectations of
    Nigerians” on the Power sector reform as some of the issues causing
    impatience among the populace. He called for more patience as the
    industry is just evolving and the participants are learning to play by
    the rules.
    A University don and an Associate Professor of energy and Electricity
    law from University of Lagos, Dr Yemi Oke averred that the
    privatization of the power sector will open the flood gate of
    litigations arising from operational and regulatory conflicts,
    contractual disputes and rights infringements among participants in
    the electricity market, suggesting that the court in that
    circumstances will have to largely depend on what he referred to as
    “experts’ determination and experts’ guidance to fairly and justly
    determine such cases”.
    In a paper titled “the role of judiciary in resolving power sector
    disputes in Nigeria,” Dr. Oke submitted that both the Federal and
    States governments share concurrence power on matters relating to
    generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.
    Earlier, the Managing Director/CEO of Kaduna Electric, Engr. Garba
    Haruna expressed serious indignation against vandalism, energy theft
    and other related electricity crimes and called for stiffer sanction
    against the perpetrators of the nefarious acts.
    “We are happy to see that the judiciary is giving the much needed
    attention to the menace of electricity theft and vandalism,
    contractual defaults including non-payment of bills by customers,
    unregistered consumers, unauthorized and illegal operators acting
    within our network, as well as fraudulent elements cheating
    unsuspecting customers,” he said.
    The participants were unanimous in their call for greater synergy
    between the bench and the operators in the electricity value chain and
    the need for more decisive actions against electricity crimes, as well
    as long custodian penalty against perpetrators whose self-serving and
    unpatriotic acts have been inhibiting the much needed development in
    the nation’s power sector.
    The also emphasized the imperatives of having a strong and independent
    regulator devoid of interference from any outside force.


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