Justice A.T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced nine oil thieves to two years imprisonment for illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The convicts are Ndubisi Ebezim; Eze Igwe Charlse; Kingsley Nwosu; Chukwuman Odum; Sunday Josiah; Mohammed Yahaya; Najib Abubaka, Abubaka Idi and Babagida Jiddah.
The convicts were arraigned on Wednesday 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) the same Act.
The one -count charge read: “That you Babagida Jiddah, being the driver on board a truck with registration number BER 844 XR, on or about the 4th May, 2019 at Igbo Etete in Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honorable court deal in petroleum product to wit loading and transporting illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), without appropriate licence or authority 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) the same Act”.
They all pleaded “guilty” when the charges were read to them.
In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsels: S. Chime; F.O. Amama; A. Osu and A.N Dodo, prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly. Defence counsels, O.N.Ofordile; C.O. Okpute, W.A. Ugwu, did not oppose the prayers of the prosecution.
Justice Mohammed thereafter convicted and sentenced Ebezim; Charlse; Nwosu; Odum; Josiah; Yahaya; Abubaka, Idi and Jiddah to two years imprisonment with an option of fine to the tune of 100,000.00 each. The Judge also ordered that the petroleum products they were caught with should be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The convicts’ journey to prison started when they were intercepted by Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt sometimes in 2017, 2018 and 2019 at different locations in Port Harcourt loading and distributing AGO using different trucks with registration numbers XR 862 ABJ, KJA 699 XR, GBB 790 XW, XZ 848 AGL, BRR 801 BZ, SML 567 AX, XW 17 FST, YLA 533 XM and BER 844 XR without appropriate licenses