Tragedy struck on Tuesday at the Ribang (Mbang) village in the Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State after six Junior Secondary School students drowned in the Mbang river while coming back after writing their West African Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination at about 5:30 pm, leaving the families in great mourning.

The victims identified as Manasseh Monday (16 years); Musa John (16 years); Pius David (15 years); Monday Ayuba (16 years); David Danlami (19 years), and Yahuza Audu (16 years), were students of Government Secondary School Fadan Chawai, writing the examination.

The National Public Relations Officer of Ribang Development Association, Pastor Simon Ishaku, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent via telephone on Wednesday, disclosed that three dead bodies had already been recovered and buried amidst tears.

He explained that as of the time of speaking with PUNCH Metro, there were still three bodies missing as locals had not been able to recover them out of the river.

“The schoolchildren left their homes full of hope and excitement while their parents went to the farm with the hope of reuniting with them after writing their papers of the day, only to meet their untimely death.

“The schoolchildren left their homes full of hope and excitement while their parents went to the farm with the hope of reuniting with them after writing their papers of the day, only to meet their untimely death.

The Federal Government on Thursday said it is working on establishing an electricity offences tribunal to combat electricity theft in the country.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, the Managing Director, Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, Aliyu Tahir, said, “We are working on the establishment of an electricity offences tribunal with an in-built appeal system for faster dispensation of electricity-related offences. It is to vest NEMSA in-house counsel with powers to prosecute electricity offences,” he stated.

Providing further explanation about the tribunal, Tahir said the initiative would adequately check electricity theft when implemented and that the National Assembly had been informed.

“We are looking at the establishment of this electricity tribunal to be able to enforce our mandates more. When you look at the enforcement, with respect to sanctioning of violators in the Act, it is a very long process.

“So to fast-track the prosecution of offenders, the establishment of this tribunal solely for the power sector will go a long way in ensuring that we fast-track the process, carry out enforcements and sanction violators,” the NEMSA boss stated.

Tahir said based on the powers conferred on the agency in the Electricity Act, NEMSA had been working hard to establish a tribunal that would speedily try electricity-related offences.

He noted that with the tribunal, issues of electricity theft would be addressed speedily and violators would be prosecuted as quickly as possible, adding that the agency was interfacing with the National Assembly on this.

“The establishment of this tribunal has been brought to the knowledge of the legislature and we’ve made submissions to them. Our hope is that they will amend the Electricity Act to include a provision for this,” Tahir stated.

He also declared that it was perfecting the process for the establishment of an electricity offences tribunal with an inbuilt appeal system to speedily tackle power-related offences.

It also declared that a total of 2,655,488 meters in the power sector had been tested and calibrated, as most of the equipment had been deployed for use by consumers across the country.

On June 2, 2024, The PUNCH exclusively reported that the latest update on metering by the Federal Government showed that 609,585 electricity consumers were metered in 2023, while the number of unmetered registered power users nationwide stood at 7,319,846.

The report stated that data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission indicated that out of the 13,162,572 registered consumers who get supplies from the national grid, 5,842,726 have been metered.

Tahir stated that in line with the mandate of the agency, NEMSA has tested and calibrated over 2.6 million meters.

According to Tahir, NEMSA, which is an agency of the Federal Government established in 2015, is still testing and calibrating more meters to ensure their functionality, durability and safety when in use

He said, “A total of 21,681 electricity installation projects have been inspected and tested, out of which 13,154 have been certified. Also, a total of 16,624 electricity networks have been monitored by NEMSA.

“About 4,921 factories, hazardous installations and public places have been inspected, tested and certified fit, while 2,655,488 electricity meters have been tested and calibrated, as 487 incidences were investigated by the agency.”

He explained that the figures were based on data compiled by NEMSA as of the first quarter of 2024, adding that the Electricity Act 2023 had strengthened the enforcement powers and responsibilities of the agency.