//Bill On Energy Theft Is In Order –EDHA Speaker

Bill On Energy Theft Is In Order –EDHA Speaker

Despite the outcry against the bill criminalizing energy theft passed few days ago by the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA), the honorable speaker of the House RT. Hon. Kabiru Adjoto, has insisted that the bill is for the good of the people.
The Edo Assembly speaker, who spoke to journalist in his office at the state assembly complex in Benin City, stated that everything was okay with the bill.
According to him, “yes, we (EDHA) did the right thing by criminalizing energy theft. But people should not just look at the bill only from that angle. They should look at the bill holistically and not just only looking at some sections and begin to ask the rationale behind the bill.
“But come to think of it, if we criminalize theft, what is wrong with criminalizing theft? What is wrong with criminalizing theft? Are people saying that theft should not be criminalized?
“If BEDC (Benin Electricity Distribution Company) are bringing estimated bills to our people, we also say it is wrong but that they should provide everybody with meters. We have told BEDC that they cannot just continue to bring estimated bills to our people.
“If there is no light, we also said that is very wrong and urged all those concerned to do everything possible to provide light for Edo people.
“However, we should not encourage our people, particularly those that have meters to be bypassing meters because they are consuming energy. By the time you have meter in your house, you cut wire and by pass it, the House thinks it leaves much to be desired.
“So, if we criminalize theft, I don’t think, there is anything wrong with it. People should not bypass meters. If you are not satisfied with the activities of BEDC, don’t take the laws into your hands.
“Report the matter to the police and you can also approach the court and fight for your rights but do not take the law into your hands.
“Edo people are known to be very civil and responsible. We don’t steal. Yes, we accepted that BEDC has a lot of ills that leaves very much to be desired but we have to encourage them to improve and that does not mean we should be stealing from them.
“Again, it is not in the character of Edo people to steal. So, that was why we criminalized energy theft in the state.
“Also, it is not just in Edo State, there is an Act to that effect and the Edo state House of Assembly has just domesticated the Act in the state.
“So, people should not steal while we negotiate, bargain and discussed with the BEDC. We should not steal because in any of our religions, stealing is condemnable,” RT. Hon. Adjoto stated.
But nonetheless, some members of the public, particularly the civil society groups are kicking against the bill, alleging that the House was seriously compromised and arm twisted to pass the what they termed “Unpopular and unnecessary bill”

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