By Ayodele Popoola
Ondo State Government has sued the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) for failing to energize 33 transformer substations in different communities in the state as directed by the Nigeria Electricity Service Agency (NESA)
In a suit filed at the Magistrates’ Court sitting in Akure, government said BEDC’s failure to connect the transformer substations to national grid was tantamount to electricity infrastructure expansion sabotage as enshrined in the State Electricity Power Sector Laws 2020.
The defendant was absent in court and not represented by any counsel.
According to the plaintiff’s counsel, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the state, Charles Titiloye said government sought declaration that the failure of BEDC to execute the project had brought untold hardship, frustration, inconvenience, loss of income, and economic loss to the state.
He told the court that the plaintiff had a duty to impose a fine on the defendants where there was a breach of the law according to Section 64(3c) of the Ondo State Electricity Power Sector Law 2020.
Titiloye said officials of the State Government have at various times appealed to BEDC to salvage the situation to enable economic activity to commence at the facility.
” We have seen impunity in this process. We serve them papers they did not respond, we write them letters they did not reply. it’s now time we use the weight of the law to get justice for our people.”
In regards to that, the Attorney General said the defendant was accordingly asked to pay the Government of Ondo State under the law the sum of One Hundred and Thirteen Million, Twenty Five Thousand Naira (N113,025,000.00) for the breach of contract.
He confirmed to the court that the defendants was duly served a reminder notice on Feb 4, 2022. He said they have seven days to pay which they have defaulted.
Titiloye told the court that the plaintiff also has the power to enforce the payment by restricting further operation of the defendant in the state.
The Attorney General said the defendant was brought before the court in order to give them fair hearing but they seem not to be interested in appearing which has been their usual attitude.
Consequently, he urged the court to invoke the powers of the court in granting the claim of the plaintiff as contained in their claims before this court dated February 15, 2022.
The Magistrate, Mrs.O.A Edwin in her short ruling said that it would be difficulty to enter judgment in the first appearance and for the fact that the defendant was served two days ago.
The case was hereby adjourned to March 2, 2022 for further mentioning and that the defendant must be put on notice.