The Kano Electricity Distribution Plc, KEDCO, has accused the Jigawa State Chief Judge, Aminu Ringim, of assault and illegal detention of its official over the disconnection of electricity from his residence and office.
The spokesman of the company, Muhammad Kandi, said its Jigawa South Regional Office on Tuesday began disconnecting government agencies, including the state High Court, over accumulated debt of electricity bills.
He said similar operation was conducted across KEDCO’s coverage area of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states.
Mr. Kandi said rather than making arrangements to pay his bills, Mr. Ringim allegedly ordered the detention of the company’s officials for disconnecting his house and office.
While the management team in the regional office secured the release of the victim four hours after his detention, he said the chief judge threatened that more KEDCO staff would be dealt with if power supply was not restored at both locations before Monday next week.
“One of our drivers, Alhaji Ibrahim Garba, was violently abducted by some armed security operatives who appeared in the vicinity of our Jigawa south regional office in muftis.
“They were said to have done that on the orders of the Chief Registrar in the office of the state Chief Judge, Musa Ubale.”
“The unsuspecting KEDCO personnel who was on his way out of the office premises, was hunted down, slapped, assaulted and handcuffed like a common criminal in the full glare of bewildered onlookers and other staff.”
He alleged that while the regional office was under siege for days after the disconnection operation, the staff had been trailed by security operatives to Ringim, Birnin-Kudu and Kano where they conduct their daily operations.
“The Chief Registrar was said to have ordered his security details to arrest and detain any identified KEDCO official. So they had laid ambush on the driver who had closed from work,” Mr. Kandi stated.
He said the company like other DISCOs had the right “to disconnect customers who have arrears of outstanding payment after they have been duly notified.”
According to him, “the company will not be intimidated by any individual or organisation in carrying out its lawful duties.
“Non-payment of electricity bill makes it impossible for our company to meet several obligations, including settling the MO bills, salary payment and other operational costs. When customers pay their bills promptly, the company will be able to serve them better.”
He called on the relevant government authorities to intervene in the matter saying “this intimidation is totally unacceptable and it must be stopped.”
“If those collecting revenue for the entire electricity value chain are being subjected to frequent harassment, intimidation and inhuman treatments by the law enforcement agents for doing their job, then the value chain may go bankrupt,” he warned.
The Jigawa State judiciary spokesperson, Abbas Wangara, did not pick or return several calls put to his phone for a reaction.