Justice I. N. Oweibo, of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State on Thursday, November 12, 2020 convicted and sentenced five illegal oil dealers to one year imprisonment each with an option of fine of one hundred thousand naira.
They are: Seaman Abonima, Samuel Umoh, Ohoegbulem Vitalis Arikaibe, Adeoye Adegoke and Ali John Kiobowei.
The convicts were arraigned today on a two-count charge bordering on illegal dealing in Petroleum products. They pleaded guilty when the charges were read to them.
One of the count reads “that MV Poseidon, Seaman Abonima, Samuel Umoh, Ohoegbulem Vitalis Arikaibe, Adeoye Adegoke and Ali John Kiobowei, on or about 20th July 2020 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court without appropriate license, dealt in 170 Metric Tons of Petroleum Product suspected to be Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and you thereby commit an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1 (17) of the Miscellaneous Offence Act , CAP M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria”.
Consequent upon their guilty plea, the prosecution counsel M.K.Bashiru urged the court to convict them accordingly.
However, the vessel, MV Poseidon arraigned alongside the convicts pleaded not guilty to the two count charge.
In view of the plea, the prosecution counsel prayed the court for a trial date.
The journey to jail for the convicts began on July 20, 2020 when the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) NGURU while on patrol intercepted and arrested MV Poseidon II within Lagos Anchorage Area for illegal possession of about 170MT of cargo suspected to be Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
The five suspected illegal oil dealers were subsequently handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.