Friday, November 16, 2029
Sequel to the general power outage that resulted in outrage in the Kwara state in July (read story), the MD and ten other management officials of Ilorin Electricity Distribution Company (IEDC) were arrested in August and have since been visiting the court to defend themselves against allegations of negligence and false pretense.
The prosecution lawyers argued that the defendants have caused Kwara state residents damages worth over N100B, businesses, N50B and the state government, N20B.
Present at the court hearing was the GM, Operations of Cadbury Nigeria. She claimed the company lost a total of N200M in damaged products, plus an estimated N75M (-+10%) possible sales net revenue loss.
Likewise, a couple, Mr & Mrs Aderibigbe told the court they lost their child to asthma because the power outage happened just when their four-year-old had an attack. The outage made it impossible for Mrs Aderibigbe to quickly locate her child’s inhaler, thus denying the child a chance of recovery.
The over plaintiffs included Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Cadbury Nigeria, Ariya Shoes Limited, Kwara state government and 102 private citizens.
An Ilorin High court judge, Ahmed Abbass, today found the accused guilty of negligence and false pretense, among other charges. He, therefore, ordered that they be remanded in prison for upwards of forty years each, without the option of parole.
As anticipated by the Director General of NERC in July, and prayed by the commission, the IEDC stakeholders lost their license in the ruling. The judge immediately ordered the Bureau of Public Enterprises to initiate procedure for the fresh award of license to a qualified candidate.
In an interview with our correspondent, the lead prosecutor, Audu Ohiare, SAN, said “Before you commit such a crime, you should have conducted proper cost-benefit analysis. You cannot toil with the lives of people and their businesses only because you wanted to cut cost and earn undue compensation from your insurers. This should be a lesson to many like them.”
On the possibility of appeal, he said “They do not stand a chance in the Court of Appeal. Matter of fact, their body language suggests they are not even considering that. They have billions of Naira to pay back; spending a dime on legal jamboree would be another not-too-smart move.”
The accused have since been transported to Agodi Prison, Ibadan to serve their term.
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