Desmond Mgboh, Kano
The Federal Government has decried the rate of electricity theft in the country, describing, it as a major impediment to the growth of the energy sector.
Speaking in Kano at the inauguration of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Task Force on Electricity Offenses (SIPTCO) for Kano Electricity Zone, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said that electricity theft has gone on for long in Nigeria while expressing optimism that the menace would soon be addressed
Represented on the occasion by an Assistant Director, Federal Ministry of Justice, Barrister Yusuf Abdullahi Abdulkadir, the minister charged the members of the task force to investigate, arrest and prosecute all cases of electricity theft within the area of coverage of the Kano Electricity Distribution Company.
He urged them to make recommendations to his office or to the management of KEDCO on alternative dispute resolution mechanism where necessary while imploring them to engage in public awareness campaigns to educate the public on the negative consequences of electricity theft.
Malami who acknowledged that the same task force had been established for Enugu Distribution Company and Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, sought the cooperation of stakeholders in the area of the regular payments of the allowances of the task-force members
He appealed to the Kano State judiciary, especially the magistrate courts where the bulk of the cases would be decided, to ensure justice and the rule of law
The Managing Director of KEDCO, Dr. Jamil Gwamna, said that energy theft represented a huge problem in the electricity industry while calling for stiffer punishment for offenders of energy laws.
In his view, punishment should equal the offense committed if it is to serve as a deterrent.