31 May 2015, Abuja – The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has filed an action against the unlawful trespass of military personnel who invaded the business premises of AEDC office at Keffi, Nassarawa State, noting that the action by the Nigerian Army was also a violation of human right of the staff In a undamental rights enforcement suit No: NSD/ML5/15: Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc LT. Col C.A Akaliro & ORS pending before Court 3, Mararaba, is supported by three affidavits filed on behalf of the applicants, alleging that on the 20th May 2015, at about 9.00 am, military personnel from 177 Guards Brigade Battalion near Keffi, Nasarawa State, invaded, broke into and raided the business premises of Abuja Electricity Distribution office at Keffi.
According to the report, the soldiers fully armed and in Army uniform with assault rifles numbering about 10 came in two Hilux pick up vans and assaulted 2nd -12 applicants, adding that the Army broke into the premises and ordered the men to kneel down while the women were told to sit on the floor and were severely beaten.
They claimed that with guns in hand, the soldiers went round the office building, shouting, barking out orders, boot kicking and banging the doors in search for the Area Office Manager.
The affidavit further alleged that the soldiers went to the electricity control room where they forced the operator on duty to shut down light and drove him to join the others held captive in the main office.
The statement also added that when it was obvious that the Area Manager was not around, in frustration they arrested and abducted 2nd -12th applicants, shoved them into the pick-up vans packing them as hostages, degradingly like sardines and whisked them away to the brigade of guards battalion barracks where they were detained for one hour from 10:30 to 11:30 am.
The report stated that the soldiers later ordered a reconnection of the light they had earlier disconnected and threatened a worse treatment should the electricity supply go off again from the barracks.
AEDC alleged that the attack was a reprisal for the disconnection of light to the army barracks near Keffi for their refusal to defray electricity bill totaling about N604.701,853.60, saying that the enraged soldiers had been harassing the staff of AEDC.
“One of the supporting affidavits was that of a nursing mother who alleged that she was ordered to breast feed her baby in public with a soldier pointing gun on her breasts and the four month old baby,” they said.
Named as respondents to the suit are Lt. Col C.A Akaliro, Chief of Army Staff, Commander Brigade of Guards, Attorney General of the Federation and the Nigerian Army Council. The Court has fixed 3rd June 2015 for hearing of the application.
The news is moving like wildfire against the back drop of a sharp drop in electricity supply. The Brigade of Guards was created to provide security for the president and members of his family.
*Crusoe Osagie – Thisday