The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) has described as, ‘unjustifiable’ and ‘cruel’, portending grave danger for the power sector over the alleged severe physical assault of staff of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Four members of staff of the Disco were alleged to have been detained and handed over to soldiers for torture by an army officer, Major General HD Tafida after they had gone to deliver a demand letter to him at his Gwarimpa residence in Abuja.
Narrating their ordeal, the victims with the letter (AEDC/DMU/12-21/118) meant to be delivered to the General over his indeptedness to the AEDC; said they were held up at the premises and later taken to Mambila Barracks where they were tortured and physically assaulted.
“The staff were merely going about their legitimate duties. They had done nothing wrong. They merely went to serve a letter. How that led to soldiers being sent to look for them is beyond us. It didn’t end there. The soldiers arrested them, presumably on the orders of the General and took them all the way from Gwarimpa to Mambilla Barracks and proceeded to torture and humiliate them. Why in goodness sake will you have a grown person flogged for going about his normal, legitimate assignment? This is cruel, inhuman and unjustifiable,” Barrister Sunday Oduntan, ANED’s Executive Director for Research and Advocacy said in a statement made available to Page3news.com.ng
“You have an obligation to pay for power you have consumed. If you were paying, no one will serve you a letter of demand. Being an Army General does not exempt you from paying for electricity consumed. The Nigerian Army as an organisation, is one of our biggest customers across the country, so I can say for a fact that this kind of conduct is not the way the Army relates with our members. I do not know why he will choose to deliberately embarrass the Chief of Army Staff and the entire military like this.
“More than the opprobrium he has attracted to men in uniform generally, though is the fact that acts like this insert unjustifiable fear in the minds of hard-working Nigerians trying to earn a living. Being a Disco staff is a honorable profession.
“Despite the fact that our power sector has its issues, the daily technical and commercial efforts of these men and women which ensure that the power sector’s relationship with the end users is managed in a way that keeps the economy running is very, very significant. This is not the first incident of physical attacks on Disco staff. A considerable number of such attacks happen across the nation every year when our staff go about doing their jobs. Let us not also encourage the inflicting of bodily harm to the challenges they have to endure. We should not and will not keep quiet in the face of it,” Oduntan added.
“We will like to call on the authorities of the Nigerian Army, led by Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya to please intervene in this matter to ensure justice is done. A lot of efforts have gone into repositioning the army in recent times and such barbaric acts are not the kind of thoughts we should be having of our brothers in the military today,” Oduntan concluded.