Pelumi Olajengbesi, legal counsel for Major General HD Tafida, the Director-General of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, has reacted to a report alleging the latter ordered an assault on some workers of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
This was contained in a statement issued by the lawyer and obtained by SaharaReporters on Thursday.
It had earlier been reported that staff members of the AEDC, numbering four had on December 15 gone to Tafida’s residence to deliver a demand letter Ref: AEDC/DMU/12-21/118 to him.
A demand letter is a letter of indebtedness demanding immediate payment of electricity bills.
One of the workers told SaharaReporters that their colleagues at Gwarinpa called them a few hours after that soldiers were looking for them.
On getting to the office, he said they were taken to the Major General’s house and were beaten mercilessly by military men.
The victim, whose back bore effects of the flogging, said he ended up in a hospital because of the beating.
But in the statement issued by the General's lawyer on Thursday, he established that there was truly some sort of dispute between the electricity firm and the family of the General.
According to him, the Tafidas had only recently moved into the apartment and had requested the installment of a prepaid meter which was obliged to, however, months later, officials from the AEDC continued to come to the house with bills worth millions of Naira.
He, however, said there was no case of torture as alleged by the AEDC official.
The statement reads, “Our attention has been drawn to an online publication alleging that Major General Tafida ordered the torture of Staff of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) for bringing estimated bills to his house and we feel obligated to clarify the story.
“Major General Tafida is a law-abiding public servant who has a small family that just moved into the apartment where the claims were alleged to have happened.
“The family approached AEDC for prepaid meter and after lots of administrative processes, the meter was issued and installed. It is important to state that the family did not move into the apartment until the meter was installed.
“Surprisingly, AEDC officials, a month after installation, began to constantly visit the premises with estimated bills running into millions (of Naira) for power never used. The family approached AEDC for clarification on where and how the bill was manufactured since the family only consumed electricity commensurate with units purchased on their prepaid meter.
“AEDC appeared not to have any explanation on record for manufacturing the bill only for one of the officials to claim that the last resident of the apartment, one Mr. Ogbonna Okori, did not use a meter and never paid any money for power consumed for the period he occupied the apartment.
“It is the family’s position to AEDC that, they are not privy to the relationship between AEDC and the last resident and thus, cannot be made to pay for power the family never used and hereby, advise AEDC to reconcile its records and endeavour to always give their customers meter to be sure of their power consumption.
“We, therefore, wish to inform the general public that the story relating to torture is untrue and trivial."