FEDERAL High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday refused an ex-parte order sought by Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to stop the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) from transferring the Aba and Ariaria business districts to Aba Power Limited (APL) today.
Ruling on the application, Justice Gabriel Kolawole said he was not satisfied with the reasons adduced by EEDC for the orders sought to be made ex-parte. The trial judge, however, asked the parties to maintain the status quo.
After listening to counsel to the plaintiffs, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN), Justice Kolawole ordered the Federal Government and the National Council on Privatisation(NCP) to appear before him on September 22 to show cause why the order sought by the plaintiffs to restrain the defendants from handing over Aba ring-fenced territory to APL should not be granted.
The BPE had on August 25 directed EEDC to hand over the Aba ring-fenced area to APL on September 10, saying the business district was not part of the PHCN assets sold to the EEDC on October 30, 2013, during the privatisation of the nation’s 11 power distribution companies (DISCOs).
But dissatisfied with the development, the EEDC and Interstate Electrics Limited approached the court to stop the impending handover.
The plaintiffs listed the Federal Government, NCP, BPE, NERC, APL and Afrigem Integrated Utilities Ltd as defendants in the suit.
They asked for a declaration that the letter dated August 24, 2015 and titled “Re: Handover of Aba and Ariaria Ring- Fenced Zone to Agrigem Integrated Utilities Ltd” was beyond the authority of the BPE (the 3rd defendant).
They also sought a declaration that the plaintiffs remained the sole owner of all the distribution facilities within the EEDC zone, covering Aba, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo states.
The plaintiffs urged Justice Kolawole to revoke APL’s licence to operate and order the Nigerian Electricity Development Commission (NERC) to stop recognising the company as an operator in the electricity industry.