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BEDC sues rights groups, demands N5m as damages

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Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has approached a Benin High Court for perpetual injunction restraining civil rights groups from protesting against electricity tariffs, rates, levies and fees.

In a suit filed through its lawyer, P. A. Akhatsokhe, the BEDC was also seeking N5 million as damages for the “psychological discomfort and embarrassment it suffered at the instance of civil rights groups who deliberately misinform and publish falsehoods against the company”.

The Defendants named in the Statement of Claim are:  Comrade Austin Osakue, Comrade Omobude Agho, Barrister Abraham Oviawe who according to the electricity company, were sued on behalf of Edo State CSOs, youth groups and community groups protesting against it (BEDC).

Besides, the Claimants asked the court to order the defendants and their civil rights groups not to enter, seal, takeover or occupy its property premises, and not to interfere with its collection of electricity tariffs, rates and fees.

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The electricity company averred that the incessant protests of the Defendants against it constituted an attempt to usurp the statutory functions and powers of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The BEDC said the Defendants and their groups’ act of marching on its premises and sealing up same was trespassory and actionable.

“Only the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that can determine its standards of performance, method by which tariffs may be charged and other levies that the claimant can charge its customers”, the company said.

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