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Court orders BEDC to pay businessman N1m for damages

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By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN — AN Edo State High Court has ordered Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, to pay a Benin-based business man, Mr Portly Giwa- Osagie N1 million being general damages, breach of his rights and threat to further breach same using the apparatus of the state police command.

•BEDC office in Akure.

In the judgment delivered by Justice A.N. Erhabor, the court also restrained the management of BEDC and Edo State Commissioner of Police, respondents in the suit by themselves, agents, contractors, privies, employees or anybody acting through them, from further harassing, attempting to arrest, detain or molest the applicant in respect of the particular issue and the application.

It should be recalled that Mr. Giwa-Osagie was arrested by the Police after filing a suit at the Oredo Magisterial Court following an altercation with two technicians from BEDC on where to mount BEDC pre-paid metres in his compound situated at 19, Ugiayugbo Street, Benin-City.

The court declared the applicant was entitled to his right of personal liberty as enshrined in Section 35(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria as amended, just as it declared that the applicant was entitled to his right of freedom of movement as enshrined in Section 4 (1) of the Constituency as amended.

Justice Erhabor further said, “ I agree that the 1st respondent, BEDC in Latin laying a complaint to the 2nd respondent flouted the decision by the National electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and the subsequent arrest and detention by the 2nd respondent was a breach of the rights to freedom of movement and personal liberty of the applicant.

“The 2nd respondent cannot escape from the consequences of its action as it was stated in the applicant’s affidavit that the 2nd respondent had a copy of the decision of NERC which unequivocally directed that the petition at the Police Station should be withdrawn.

“ I agree with counsel that the 2nd respondent cannot degenerate to become a debt recovery outfit
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