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N46M METER EXTORTION: NERC, CITEC ESTATE IN SHOWDOWN

By NBF News
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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has expressed disappointment in the management of CITEC estate, for illegally engaging in the distribution and trading in electricity, an act contrary to the provisions of the EPSR Act 2005.

This is even as the Director of General Services of CITEC, Mr. Jinadu Nurudeen, yesterday resisted attempts by police officers to arrest him over an alleged N46 million extorted from residents at the CITEC Mbora Housing Estate, Abuja.

The alleged N46 million is the sum of monies extorted from residents of the estate by theĀ  management under the pretext of supplying them electricity pre-paid meters since 2007, a promise yet to be fulfilled.

The situation resulted in a mild drama when NERC's enforcement team led by Deputy General Manager, Legal and Licencing Department, Barrister Chijioke Obi, stormed the estate following complaint of extortion by residents.

According to Obi, the commission received complaints from residents of the estate accusing the managers of criminal breach of trust by false pretence in violation of the 2005 Electricity Act.

He explained that CITEC assumed the place of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and illegally collected N40, 000 and N60,000 from its tenants in 2007, amounting to N46 million purportedly for the purchase and installation of pre-paid meters but never remitted the money to the PHCN.

Obi stated that the arrest became necessary after CITEC failed to comply with the commission's intervention which required that monies collected from the tenant be refunded.

But Nurudeen, who threatened to sue NERC if forced out of his office, refused to comply with Police officers who requested that he joined them to the station for questioning.

He told journalists that the company purchased about 2000 units of meters which were certified as good by the PHCN but that the matter was reported to NERC by some aggrieved tenants who accused them of extortion, a situation that made PHCN officials refuse to install the meters for the tenants.

But his claim was swiftly countered by the Jabi Special Project Manager of PHCN, Mrs. Hauwa Kulu Muhammed who denied that PHCN ever certified such meters procured by CITEC as it was against extant laws.

Muhammed accused the estate managers of refusing to pay up their electricity bills, maintaining that several attempts by her staff to access the estate for meter installations were refused by the management.