Justice A. T Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced fourteen oil thieves to various jail terms for illegal oil bunkering.
The convicts were all arraigned on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal office, on one-count separate charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products, contrary to Section 4(1) of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 and punishable under Section 4(6) of the same Act.
The count charge read: “That you Mohammed Abba, Adamu Usman and Babangida Audu on or about June, 2018, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did distribute petroleum product (Automotive Gas Oil) with Mack Truck with registration number YLA 112 ZV, without Licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4(1) of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 and punishable under Section 4(6) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded guilty to their one count separate charge when read to them.
In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsels, S. Chime, M.T. Iko and C. Okorie urged the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
But counsels to the defendants (before being convicted): D. G Uduru; M. M Suleiman; Joseph Omogba; A.B Abdulahi and C.N.Wolucho did not oppose the prayers of the prosecution counsels.
Justice Mohammed convicted and sentenced Abba and Usman to two years imprisonment with an option of fine of N100, 000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) each, while the rest 13 (thirteen) defendants were convicted and sentenced to a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (100,000.00) each.
They are: Babangida Audu; Chijioke Ali; Muhammad Jamilu; Umaru Hussaini; Ahmadu Adamu; Muhammed Muhammed; Mahmud Girei; Abubakar Mai Nasara; Sadiq Ismaila; Sama’ila Njidda; Mahmud Abdullahi, Chima Onuha and Ismaila Balarebe.
The Judge also ordered that the petroleum products they were caught with be forfeited to the Federal Government.
All the convicts got into trouble when they were intercepted by men of the Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt sometimes in 2018 and 2019 at different locations in Port Harcourt, Rivers State distributing Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) using Trucks, Tankers, Escavator with registration numbers YLA 112 ZV; YLA 110 ZV; MGN 22 XA; KPR 23 XA; LFA 403 XA, KPR 24 XA; BNY 490 XA; KPR 345 XA; MUB 807 XA; BGM 229 XA; YEN 423 XA; BKR 395 XA; KWL 60 ZA and an Escavator 320 CL CAT without appropriate licences.