Nigeria’s Upper Area Court sitting in Jos north central Plateau State, has sentenced one Mr. Ahmed Usman to 10 years imprisonment for theft of electrical installations and vandalisation of equipment belonging to the Jos Electricity Distribution (JED) Plc.
Usman was apprehended by some well-meaning members of Jos Community and handed over to the Police for further action.
The arrest was made on August 6, 2019, an offence punishable under Sections 272 and 319 of the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria.
When the matter was charged to court in suit Commissioner of Police against Ahmed Usman, at Kasuwan Nama Upper Area Court in Jos-north, the Prosecuting Inspector, Gokwat Ibrahim read the First Information Report (FIR) to the accused, which Usman said he understood all the charges and said they were true.
According to the accused, “I understood the allegation. It is true. I conspired with some people and stole the cable from JED transformer. But those people are on the run now. I have no reason why I should not be convicted as alleged.”
At this stage, the prosecuting Police Inspector, then applied for summary trial of the accused person.
In his reaction, the Sole Judge, Hon. Lawal Suleiman, Esq. said that upon the plea of guilty by the accused person, “he is found guilty of the offence and is convicted as charged.”
The accused person then pleaded for leniency, saying “I will not do it again,” while the prosecuting Police officer said that to the best of his knowledge, there was no evidence of previous conviction on the part of the accused.
In his judgement, the trial judge agreed, saying that being a first time offender, the accused is hereby sentenced to 10 years imprisonment or pay N1, 000,000 fine.
However, a statement by the Head, Public Relations Officer of JED, Hajiya Saratu Dauda, said the conviction was intended to serve as deterrent to all perpetrators of acts of criminality of their network.
She said that management wished to inform the public that efforts such as community policing, have been deployed towards effectively curtailing the menace of vandalism, energy theft and all forms of illegalities on its distribution infrastructure.
Saratu implored the public to report any act of vandalism, theft of installation of the JED equipment to the police.