The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) says its partnership with the Director of Prosecution of the Federation, Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) will help eliminate electricity related offences in its area of coverage.
AEDC’s Managing Director, Mr Ernest Mupwaya, said this at the inauguration of a special electricity offences investigation and prosecution team in Abuja on Tuesday.
The special task force team was set up by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the Federation with the mandate to deal with the menace of electricity theft in AEDCs’ areas of operation.
Mupwaya said that the losses caused by electricity related offences were resulting in distortions of significant magnitude to the company.
This, he said, had made the DisCOs not to properly account for the energy allocated to them due to electricity theft, through illegal connections, meter tempering and vandalism of electricity infrastructure.
He also said that the issue had also resulted to the insufficient payments received by the DisCos, Transmission Company (TCN) and the gas suppliers.
Mupwaya said it was important to address the issue of electricity theft, given its significant effect to the transformation of the electricity industry in the country.
According to him, there is no provision for electricity related offences in the Penal Code, Miscellaneous Offences Act and Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, hence, the partnership with the agencies of government.
He said that AEDC would work with the agencies to ensure easy investigation and prosecution of electricity offences.
The managing director said that AEDC would also work with the DPP’s office to engage the FCT Chief Judge to assign electricity cases to judges.
Mupwaya said that the company was also prepared to organise the requisite training for such judicial officers to understand the basic information of electricity offences.
According to him, such training is also being planned for the members of the taskforce.
He said that it was the desire of AEDC that the awareness of the various electricity offences would result in the arrest and conviction of the culprits.
He said it would serve as deterrents to other would be offenders.
Responding, the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Mohammed Umaru, said that electricity theft had gone unchecked for a long time in the country.
He said that members of the task force had a herculean task to cub electricity related offences, adding that their responsibility was to assiduously collaborate with AEDC to investigate and prosecute all cases of electricity theft in AEDC’s coverage area.
Umaru said that the task force was also expected to make recommendation to him and AEDC management on other alternative dispute resolution mechanism where necessary.
He said the team was expected to carry out public awareness on the adverse effect of electricity theft on the Nigerian economy.
Umaru said that the commitment of the team to discharge its mandate would ultimately boost power supply and economic activities in the franchise area of AEDC.
He said that the success of the team would ultimately spread to other franchise areas of other distribution companies in the country.
NAN also reports that high point of the event was the presentation of AEDC’s Electricity Theft Information Booklet to the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation.(NAN)