11 fishermen re-arraigned over pipeline vandalism

Eleven fishermen on Wednesday reappeared before a Federal High Court in Lagos over pipeline vandalism.

The accused are Sidi Egbayelo, 31; Sunday Shadrach, 41; Edem Okon, 32; Godwin Kofa, 30; Rosemon Neito, 32; Ejona Kpamkpam, 25; and Moses Victor, 30.

Others are Chris Sunday, 31; Peter Gay, 23; Remo Uchugwu, 25; and Mike Sabato, 31.

They are standing trial on a four-count charge of conspiracy, vandalism, stealing, and unlawful possession of petroleum products.

The accused were first arraigned on Feb. 7, 2013 before Justice Musa Kurya and they had all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Kurya had granted them bail in the sum of N2 million each with two sureties each in like sum.

The court had then commenced trial of the accused.

However, the accused were on Wednesday, re-arraigned before a new judge, Justice Rabiu Shagari, following the transfer of Kurya from the Lagos division of the court.

All of them, again, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Justice Shagari, ruling on the bail application of the accused, allowed them to continue with it on the conditions earlier granted by Kurya.

He subsequently adjourned the case to June 13 and June 14 for trial.

In the charge, the accused are said to have committed the offences on Dec. 21, 2012.

The prosecutor, Justin Enang, said that the accused were apprehended at 1.00 a.m. on the same day at Atlas Cove in Lagos, where they allegedly engaged in unlawful extraction of petrol.

According to Enang, about 220 drums of petrol were recovered from the accused, who allegedly obtained the product from a vandalised pipeline for illegal sale.

He said that the product was valued at N5.3 million.

The prosecution indicated that the offences contravened the provisions of Sections 390 and 516 of the Criminal Code Act, 2004 and Section 7(a), (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004.

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