FG to set up tribunal for prosecution of electricity theft cases

The federal government says it is working on establishing an electricity offences tribunal to combat electricity theft in the country.

Aliyu Tahir, managing director of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, spoke at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

Some common forms of electricity theft in Nigeria include bypassing prepaid meters and illegal connections which often result in tampering with electricity cables.

“We are working on the establishment of an electricity offences tribunal with an in-built appeal system for faster dispensation of electricity-related offences,” he said.

“It is to vest NEMSA in-house counsel with powers to prosecute electricity offences.”

Tahir said the initiative would effectively prevent electricity theft when implemented, noting that the national assembly has been informed of the proposed establishment.

“We are looking at the establishment of this electricity tribunal to be able to enforce our mandates more. When you look at the enforcement, with respect to sanctioning of violators in the Act, it is a very long process,” he said.

“So, to fast-track the prosecution of offenders, the establishment of this tribunal solely for the power sector will go a long way in ensuring that we fast-track the process, carry out enforcements and sanction violators.”

Tahir said based on the powers conferred on the agency in the electricity Act, NEMSA has been working rigorously to set up a tribunal that would speedily prosecute electricity-related offences.

According to NEMSA managing director, the agency is liaising with the national assembly on the matter, stressing that issues on energy theft would be promptly resolved with the tribunal — with offenders facing the swiftest possible prosecution.

“The establishment of this tribunal has been brought to the knowledge of the legislature and we’ve made submissions to them,” Tahir said.

He expressed hope the lawmakers will amend the electricity Act to include a provision for the tribunal.

On May 27, Tony Elumelu, the chairman of Transcorp Group, raised concerns about the menace of electricity theft in the power sector.

Elumelu, who said the act is frustrating distribution companies (DisCos) in the country, called for the establishment of special courts to deal with power theft and related cases to curb the problem.

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