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Protest over alleged poor services: BEDC, EDOCSO mull out-of-court settlement

The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and the Edo Civil Society Organisation (EDOCSO) on Wednesday indicated interest to embrace out-of-court settlement over a protest against the company’s alleged defective services by the civil society group.

BEDC had in a suit No: B/781/2016 instituted a case against the former coordinator general of EDOCSO, Omobude Agho, and two other civil society actors for opposing purported poor electricity services and exorbitant billings through a peaceful protest.

The claimant approached the court to seek an injunction restraining the defendants from further protests that may lead to entering, sealing or taking over the company’s premises.

Counsel to BEDC, P.A Akhatsokhe, who made the disclosure at the resumption of hearing on the suit in a Benin high court, Benin City, said negotiations are in place to resolve the legal dispute between the company and the civil society organisation.

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“We are discussing settlements. We hold the court and our client a duty that when matters are in court we should endeavour to see how it can be settled out of court. The rules of court support that; it is against that backdrop that counsel in the matter have been talking to their clients.

“We came here to inform the court what we have been doing outside the court. We have made the proposal for settlement,” Akhatsokhe said.

Reacting, counsel to EDOCSO, Leonard Osa-Uwagie, said they will study the terms before making a decision.

Osa-Uwagie who represented the lead counsel, Osagie Obayuwana, said, “We were served proposed terms of settlement. We will look at it. If it works for our client, then we will go ahead but if it doesn’t we will make our own request by way of a counter term.”

Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Victor O.A Oviawe, adjourned to February 19, 2021, for the report of settlement.

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