Three people have been sentenced to prison for six years each by the Federal High Court, Abeokuta Division in the Republic of Nigeria, for unlawfully tampering, disconnecting and damaging electrical installations belonging to Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC).

The convicts–Chibueze Emmanuel, Michael Genesis and Ojuilape Olaitan–pleaded guilty to the offence and were accordingly jailed by the court presided over by Hon. Justice A. Demi-Ajayi.

The facts of the case as presented in court were that Chibueze Emmanuel and Michael Genesis were arrested in January 2022 while Ojuolape Olaitan was arrested in January 2024 and was put before the court.

The judge adjourned the case to May 8, 2024, for the review of the facts.

After a careful review of the facts, the Hon. Judge sentenced each of the defendants to six years of imprisonment.

Commenting on the case, IBEDC noted that energy theft cases which include various offences such as meter bypass and illegal meter tampering have a significant financial loss for the company.

As stipulated by the Electricity Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, IBEDC said energy theft is recognised as a criminal offence, carrying severe penalties including imprisonment.

“We want to send a clear message to our customers that energy theft will not be tolerated. Our collaboration with the Federal Government Special Investigation and Prosecution Task Force on Electricity Offences underscores our commitment to ensuring a fair and just electricity distribution system.

Energy theft not only undermines the integrity of our operations but also deprives IBEDC of the revenue necessary to provide quality services to our customers.

“We urge our customers to refrain from engaging in any form of energy theft, as the consequences can be severe,” the company said in a statement.