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Published On: Mon, May 14th, 2018

Court awards N1m damages against Benin electricity DISCO

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Local meter manufacturers decry low patronage from DiscosBy Osaigbovo Iguobaro Benin

A Benin High court has awarded the sum of N1, 000, 000.00 (One million naira) damages against the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
The fine is to be paid to company’s customer, Mr. Portly A. T. Giwa-Osagie for the breach of his fundamental right using police apparatus.
Justice A. N. Erhabor who delivered the judgement, also restrained the electricity company, agents, contractors, privies, employees or anybody acting through them from further harassing, attempting to arrest, detain, molest the applicant (Giwa Osagie).
The applicant had sued BEDC and the police to court in Suit No: MOR/87/2017, challenging his detention by the security operatives on the order of the electricity coy.
Justice Erhabor held that the company used the police to witch-hunt its customer and deprives him of the enjoyment of his fundamental rights because, “as was stated in the applicant’s affidavit, a matter had been filed in court.
According to the Judge, “I agree that the 1st respondent in laying a complaint to the 2nd respondent flouted the decision by the National Electricity Regulatory Commissioner (NERC) and the subsequent arrest and detention by the 2nd respondent was a breach of the rights to freedom and personal liberty of the applicant.
“The 2nd respondent cannot escape from the consequences of its action as it was stated in the applicant’s affidavit that the 2nd respondent had a copy of the decision of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) which unequivocally directed that the petition at the police station should be withdrawn.
The court further held that “I agree with counsel that the 2nd respondent cannot degenerate to become a debt recovery outfit.
“Indeed, the forum in the same findings recorded in exhibit stated that the ideal of keeping customers out of supply for a very long period in the guise of police investigation should be stopped henceforth,” it said.

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